By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
The Gilas Pilipinas men’s national basketball team will return to action from July 2-7, 2024, as they look to grab a spot at the Paris Olympics through the qualifiers.
Gilas was already slated with Latvia and Georgia in Group A of the qualifiers during the official tournament draw last November 28, 2023, held in Mies, Switzerland.
The Philippines already had a chance to book a direct ticket to Paris but unfortunately failed after Japan became the highest-ranked Asian team during the FIBA World Cup.
Despite winning its final game against China, Japan still edged Gilas in the overall ranking and will again have another shot if they pull off an impressive showing in the Olympic qualifiers.
23 other teams will also vie for an Olympic spot while Germany, Serbia, USA, and Canada are already guaranteed of a ticket to Paris.
Aside from these nations, France also earned a direct qualification as one of the hosts together with Australia and South Sudan.
With only seven months left to prepare, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) and the rest of the committee are yet to present the long-term plan for the betterment of Gilas.
Until now, the SBP still hasn’t named the head coach of the national team and will still undergo the process of selecting the final pool of players for the Olympic qualifiers.
Last Olympic qualifiers, the national team was headed by Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) chief tactician Tab Baldwin.
The players that suited up for his team were all collegiate standouts who nearly upset the powerhouse Serbian national squad and the Dominican Republic.