The Philippines has been called up to replace New Zealand in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament slated on June 29 to July 4 at the Stark Arena in Belgrade.
The Tall Blacks withdrew from the competition, citing the Covid-19 pandemic. In the wake of New Zealand’s withdrawal, the international governing body for basketball, FIBA, decided that the Philippines would get the chance to compete for a berth in the Tokyo Olympics.
“The Philippines will replace New Zealand at the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament 2020 in Belgrade, Serbia as the next best team from the Asia-Oceania Region in the FIBA World Ranking Men,” read FIBA’s statement.
The Philippines is ranked No. 31 in the world and is sixth in this region.
The Gilas will be in the same pool as hosts Serbia and the Dominican Republic. The top two teams would match up against the top two from the other pool, which has Puerto Rico, Italy and Senegal. The winner of this tournament will earn a spot in the Tokyo Olympics.
“This is truly a welcome development, and we’re very happy that Gilas Pilipinas Men will be given a chance to compete for a spot in the Olympics,” said Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas president Al Panlilio in a statement. (JNP)