The FIBA Asia Cup
WHEREAS it used to be the qualifying tournament to the FIBA Basketball World Cup (formerly the World Basketball Championship) or Summer Olympics, the ongoing FIBA Asia Cup (named as such for the first time after being called the Asian Basketball Confederation and FIBA Asia Championship in the past) being staged at the Nouhad Nawfal Stadium in Beirut, Lebanon is simply an inaugural joint Asia-Oceania continental tournament to decide a champion.
All 16 participating countries in the FIBA Asia Cup actually have also earned berths for the first round of the reformatted 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup in China insofar as entries from the joint FIBA Asia and FIBA Oceania continents are concerned.
In the biennial FIBA Asia Cup, the 16 teams were bracketed into four groups of four each in preliminary-round play. They are as follows:
Group A – Islamic Republic of Iran, India, Syria and Jordan
Group B – Iraq, People’s Republic of China, the Philippines (the reigning Southeast Asian titlist) and Qatar
Group C – Kazakhstan, host Lebanon, South Korea and New Zealand
Group D – Japan, Hong Kong, Chinese Taipei and Australia
Our beloved Filipinos surprised reigning champion China Wednesday night, 96-87, then battle Iraq today, August 11 (9 p.m.), and Qatar on Sunday, August 13 (9 p.m.).
Should the Philippines wind up second in its group, it will face the third-placer in A3. A third-place finish will relegate our boys to a second-round clash with the second-ranked team in Group A. Of course, first place in your group means a second-round bye and an automatic trip to the Round of 8.
The format for the 2017 FIBA Asia Cup has been changed in comparison to what had been utilized since 2009. Additionally, the perennial Oceania powerhouses, the Australia Boomers and New Zealand Tall Blacks, have been realigned to their Asian neighbors.
While each team will play three games in their group during the round-robin prelims, the next rounds shall have a single-elimination format. In second-round play, the second- and third-placers in each group battle their counterparts in the opposing groups while all four group winners gain byes into the knockout quarterfinals.
In the one-game second round, it will be C2 vs. D3 with the winner advancing to a quarterfinal date with A1 (Q1); D2 vs. C3 with the winner facing B1 in the quarter playoffs (Q2); A2 vs. B3 with the winner battling C1 in the third round (Q3); and B2 vs. A3 clashing with D1 in the quarterfinals (Q4).
The semifinal matchups set for August 19 will feature the Q1 winner vs. the Q2 winner and the Q3 winner vs. the Q4 winner.
The Final Four victors will then clash for the title in the FIBA Asia Cup on August 20.
In the past two editions of the FIBA Asia Cup, the Philippines settled for the silver medal in 2013 behind Iran and grabbed once more another silver in 2015 behind host China.
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