The Gilas Pilipinas Men will participate in the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) after New Zealand begged off from the competition.
FIBA said Friday the Gilas Men would replace New Zealand for being “the next best team from the Asia-Oceania Region in the FIBA World Ranking.”
Basketball New Zealand, the domestic governing body for the “Tall Blacks”, said they have to pull off their national teams in both the 5-on-5 and even the 3×3 OQT due to logistic matters.
“Due to the spike in the number of high-performance events and the costs of sending teams abroad, the Basketball New Zealand board has made the difficult decision to withdraw the Tall Blacks from the OQT in Serbia and the New Zealand men’s 3×3 team from the 2021 OQT in Austria,” Basketball NZ said in a statement.
The Gilas Men will be grouped alongside the Dominican Republic and host country Serbia in Group A of the Belgrade OQT from June 29 to July 4.
The top two teams from the group will battle the best two teams from Group B, consisting of Puerto Rico, Italy, and Senegal, in the knockout crossover semifinals, with the winners slugging it out for one of the remaining four spots in the Olympic men’s 5×5 basketball event in Tokyo. The Gilas Men already booked a seat in the FIBA 3×3 OQT in Graz, Austria slated this May.*PNA