Who will Gilas Pilipinas play against in the group stage?
The real preparation for the much-awaited FIBA World Cup begins when the 32 teams are finally divided into eight groups.
The FIBA World Cup draw graced by basketball legends like Dirk Nowitzki, Yao Ming, and Luis Scola has commenced at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Being two of the co-hosts along with Indonesia, the Philippines and Japan were allocated early into groups. USA, Canada, and Slovenia, meanwhile, were also assigned into groups prior to the draw since the host nations picked them as "preferred countries" to play in their respective sites.
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Here are the live updates on the FIBA World Cup draw:
The Naismith Trophy has arrived
The Naismith Trophy has been making the rounds lately, and it is now at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Nothing better than serving up a sweet reminder of what the 32 nations will be playing for come August.
The stars are out
The FIBA World Cup draw promised a star-studded affair, with celebrities, NBA icons, and PBA legends expected to converge at the Big Dome. And they are coming through as promised, arriving one by one at the venue to the delight of the fans, who have lined up as early as 5 p.m.
Among the early birds spotted already were FIBA World Cup global ambassador Luis Scola, FIBA Central Board member Dirk Nowitzki, PBA veterans Jeff Chan and June Mar Fajardo, Iran's Hamed Haddadi, Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes, and even PVL stars Michele Gumabao and Alyssa Valdez.
Nowitzki, in particular, has been a hit among fans, gamely posing for pictures and signing autographs—all while flashing an effervescent smile.
Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas chairman emeritus and FIBA Central Board member Manny V. Pangilinan has also arrived at the Big Dome.
Meanwhile, here are the updates on the groupings for the FIBA World Cup:
Group A: Angola, Dominican Republic, Philippines, Italy
GROUP B: South Sudan, Serbia, China, Puerto Rico
GROUP C: USA, Jordan, Greece, New Zealand
GROUP D: Egypt, Mexico, Montenegro, Lithuania
GROUP E: Germany, Finland, Australia, Japan
GROUP F: Slovenia, Cape Verde, Georgia, Venezuela
GROUP G: Iran, Spain, Ivory Coast, Brazil
GROUP H: Canada, Latvia, Lebanon, France
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Gilas Pilipinas will look to improve on its zero-win stint in the 2019 FIBA World Cup. The Philippines, which will serve as host for the first time since 1978, has now been to the prestigious event for the third straight time.
Gilas Pilipinas will open its campaign at the Philippine Arena in Bulacan. USA, which is expected to be bannered by NBA stars and coached by Steve Kerr, is already slated to play in Manila.
The FIBA World Cup will run from August 25 to September 10.
Catch the action live on One Sports and TV5.