Resurgent Gilas Pilipinas roars into FIBA World Cup 2023 on home turf

MANILA, Philippines – The long wait is finally over. Powerhouse teams from different parts of the globe, spearheaded by Team USA have landed in the Philippine soil to showcase their basketball prowess and to entertain millions of basketball aficionados at the FIBA World Cup 2023.

Alongside arrival of the basketball heavyweights, Gilas Pilipinas under the tutelage of long-time national basketball head coach Chot Reyes, revealed its 12-man roster led by Utah Jazz guard and Fil-Am Jordan Clarkson. Together with NBA veteran Clarkson are Gilas-mainstays June Mar Fajardo, Japeth Aguilar, Scottie Thompson, Kiefer Ravena, CJ Perez, RR Pogoy and young guns Kai Sotto, AJ Edu, Dwight Ramos, Jamie Malonzo, and Rhenz Abando.

NBA veteran Jordan Clarkson and NBA hopeful Kai Sotto
NBA veteran Jordan Clarkson and NBA hopeful Kai Sotto headline Gilas Pilipinas in FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023. Photo Credit: FIBA

The nationals will face Dominican Republic, helmed by NBA Center Karl Anthony Towns, during the tournament opener on Friday, August 25 at the Philippine Arena. The FIBA ranked-40 Philippines will have a day off after the inaugural game and will face FIBA ranked-41 Angola on August 27 at Araneta Coliseum and will end the elimination round against another basketball behemoth Team Italy on August 29, still at Araneta Coliseum.

The Philippines need to win at least 2 games to qualify to the next round which is no walk in the park as the home team will face much taller, athletic, and experienced squads. Despite all the odds, Gilas will heavily bank on the home crowd just like what it did in the previous major international tournaments held in the country.

12 more teams have set foot in the Philippines to fight for their chance for the world’s basketball supremacy. Group B headlined by Euro super team Serbia together with Puerto Rico, South Sudan, and China. Group C which was dubbed as “group of death” comprises the USA, Greece, New Zealand, and Jordan. Lastly, Group D composed of Mexico, Montenegro, Lithuania, and Egypt completes the FIBA-Manila casts.

The Filipino basketball junkies will have a rare glimpse of NBA stars in flesh as Team USA is set to reclaim FIBA’s top spot after being dethroned by Spain in the world rankings. The American hoopers are strongly led by Brandon Ingram, Anthony Edwards, and Austin Reeves. Though lesser-caliber than Lebron James, Stephen Curry, and Kevin Durant, pundits predict that Team USA will once again be the king of basketball at the end of the competition.

Local basketball experts also foresee a chance of Philippines advancing to the next round with complete and well-balanced roster; a team who has a decent number of shooters from the outside and a team who can also defend the rim with the help of 7’3” Sotto and 3 more lengthy players who are at least 6’9” in Fajardo, Aguilar, and Edu.

All Gilas Pilipinas games will be aired live at 8PM on the above-mentioned dates exclusively on TV5, One Sports, and One Sports+ as the local official broadcasters of FIBA World Cup 2023.

— Joey Boy Capos, The Summit Express

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