Why the #FIBAAsia2015 Draw may be hell for us.

So you think the 2015 FIBA Asia Draw was kind to the Philippines, right? 

Think again.

Yes, as the only team in Group B that has ever finished in the top three of any FIBA Asia Championship, as the only team in that group to ever play in the FIBA World Cup, and as the only team in that group to be ranked among the top 40 basketball countries in the world, we SHOULD be the odds-on favorites. 

Joining us in this group are Palestine (unranked), Kuwait (#70), and either Mongolia (unranked) or Hong Kong (#69). Judging by their FIBA rankings alone, none of those teams should really pose a serious challenge, right?

For the most part, yes, but the key exception here will be Palestine. 

Before 2015, the Palestinians have never qualified to the FIBA Asia Championship, but the way they were able to beat Iraq and Syria and the West Asia qualifiers this year begs notice. They relied heavily on 6’9 do-it-all big man Sani Sakakini and a pair of athletic wingmen in Jamal Abu-Shamala (American-born) and Ahmed Haroon (who also holds Canadian citizenship). All three should be present in Changsha, China for the continental competition, in addition to several other Palestinian stars who will beef up the lineup. Leading these reinforcements will be recent GlobalPort Batang Pier player Omar Krayem, who is expected to be this team’s top point guard. Joining him are Nicola Fadayel (Palestine’s top three-point shooter) and another big man, 6’8 Salim Sakakini. Together, these guys should make Palestine stronger and, consequently, a more legitimate threat deserving of our respect.

Still, despite that, Gilas Pilipinas should still sweep Group B. Even when ranged against the projected top three from Group A — Iran (#17), Japan (#47), and probably India (#61) — in the next round, Gilas should still do well, with the Iranians the only seemingly insurmountable blockade to securing Group E’s top seed and heading into the knockout quarterfinals.

By all intents and purposes, it should be a relatively trouble-free path to the quarterfinals — maybe the easiest first four or five games we have ever seen in this tournament’s history. Once we get to the quarterfinals, however, we better get ourselves ready for an ass-whipping. 

That doesn’t necessarily mean we will lose, but it sure as hell means nothing will be easy from that point moving forward.

Just take a moment to appreciate the quality of opponents we’re bound to face in the final eight — Korea (#28), Jordan (#29), China (#14), Taiwan (#44), Lebanon (#34), Qatar (#48), and Kazakhstan (#53). Each of those teams has finished in the top four of the tournament at least once in the past 10 years. Only four of those countries will advance to the quarterfinals from Group F, but, make no mistake, whoever it is who comes out will be good enough to win it all. 

For the sake of argument, let’s say it’s the top four ranked teams who make it from that group. That’s China, Korea, Jordan, and Lebanon — all of whom have played in the World Championship at least once. Even if Gilas finishes as the top seed from Group E, that won’t assure our boys that they’ll get an “easy” assignment in the quarterfinals. 

This is the true nature and danger of the draw. Even if Gilas sweeps or finishes among the top two seeds in Group E, all that will mean nothing if they lose in the quarterfinals. 

Getting a “light” draw for our preliminary group doesn’t significantly make the road to Rio any easier. If anything, the draw actually makes it trickier. We cannot afford to take anybody for granted in the first two rounds, and we cannot afford a misstep in the quarterfinals. 

It’s a nightmare dressed up as a daydream. Hellfire masquerading in the trappings of a heavenly blessing.

It’s a good thing, then, that coach Tab isn’t thinking too much of the draw. For him, it doesn’t matter as much as actually making it to the knockout rounds and playing better there. He has enough experience to know that underestimating opponents should be the last thing in our boys’ minds, and we shouldn’t start by underestimating this draw.

Indeed, there is no reward for topping Group B or Group E. There is only hell.

Preliminary analysis of the other groups:

Group A - Iran wins easy in this one. Japan should be competitive with a new naturalized player (either 6’5 Tommy Brenton or 6’8 Michael Parker), but they are still tremendous underdogs against the defending champs. Malaysia will be the doormat here as India should advance despite all the internal turmoil they are currently experiencing and despite the fact they still don’t have a coach.

Group C - Given how both Korea (like India, the Koreans still don’t have a coach) and Jordan are top-flight teams, it’s quite strange that hosts China chose to be a part of this group. Still, there could be wisdom in that move if the Chinese can escape this group unscathed. One may argue that Korea and Jordan (as long as they are complete and healthy) are the two toughest teams on this side of the bracket outside of China, and if the hosts can sweep this group, they have a really strong shot at finishing as the top seed entering the quarterfinals. China always plays much better at home, so I’ll pick them to barely top this group with Korea and Jordan finishing 2-3 respectively. Singapore? Well, at least they qualified, right?

Group D - This is the Group of Death. Any of the four teams here is good enough to finish on the podium, if not win the whole damn thing. Still, when the dust settles, I expect Lebanon to stand atop of the heap. Living legend Fadi El Khatib has looked as if he is in sterling form, and they’ve been training for a couple of months now. Taiwan, given its experience and depth, should be a favorite to finish behind Lebanon, while Qatar, playing for the first time without icon Yaseen Musa, will fight for the third spot against a youthful Kazakh quintet.

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kaya yan putangina pagtatambakan natin lahat ng mga tarantadong animal na yan.kinginang yan laban pilipinas PUSO!!!!