It's going to be bright with these basketball stars in Doha, Qatar!
Icon meets icon once again.
Just after the FIBA World Cup, FIBA Asia Cup icons Gabe Norwood of the Philippines and Hamed Haddadi of Iran will grace the FIBA Asia Cup 2025 Qualifiers Draw in Doha, Qatar as the special guests of the event.
Norwood has retired from international team duties but served in the FIBA World Cup as a local ambassador. He has also been a constant presence in the tournament, which saw Germany as the undefeated world champion.
Meanwhile, Haddadi had an emotional retirement as he was celebrated by both Lebanon and Iran in the classification phase of the FIBA World Cup.
The Team Melli veteran has answered the call of duty in every single one of Iran's four World Cup campaigns and two Olympic tournaments.
The draw for the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers will take place tonight, Tuesday, 7 p.m. in Qatar or 12 midnight for the Philippines.
The Asia Cup is memorable for both the Philippines and Iran, as the 2013 edition—then known as the FIBA Asia Championship—helped Gilas Pilipinas secure its first World Cup stint in nearly four decades.
It was also in that tournament held in the Mall of Asia Arena where Team Melli defeated Gilas for a third gold medal.
Meanwhile, the 2022 edition held in Jakarta saw Gilas Pilipinas finish at ninth place, after dropping games against a fiery Wael Arakji and Lebanon, along with New Zealand. The Philippines had a shot at the quarterfinals but fell to Japan.
For the 2025 tournament, there will be 24 teams playing in the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers. Sixteen of them took part in the previous tournament: Australia, Lebanon, New Zealand, Jordan, Iran, South Korea, Japan, China, the Philippines, Chinese Taipei, Indonesia, Syria, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Kazakhstan, and India.
Eight more will be joining them after the Pre-Qualifiers: Palestine, Iraq, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Guam, Thailand, Mongolia, and Hong Kong.
There will be three qualifying windows starting February 2024 and 16 spots will be up for grabs towards the 2025 tournament.
The FIBA Asia Cup will also serve as a qualification for the 2027 edition of the World Cup, which will also be held in Qatar.