The best basketball teams in Asia converge in the Philippines for the FIBA Asia Championship beginning August 1.
A total of 15 teams will take part in the 11-day event that serves as a qualifier for next year's FIBA World Cup (formerly FIBA World Championship) in Spain.
Group A is made up of host Philippines, Jordan, Chinese Taipei and Saudi Arabia while Group B is composed of Japan, Qatar and Hong Kong. Lebanon was originally included in the group but was stricken out after FIBA suspended the country due to conflict in its national federation. Iraq and the United Arab Emirates were initially considered to replace the Lebanese but FIBA opted not to tap a replacement.
Group C will feature China, Iran, South Korea and Malaysia while Group D will have Kazakhstan, India, Bahrain and Thailand.
The top three teams in each group will proceed to the next phase where the remaining 12 teams will be divided into two groups. Group E will be made up of the top three teams in Group A and Group B while Group F will be composed of the top three teams in Group C and Group D. The teams in the original Group A will play the teams in Group B in Group E, carrying over their win-loss records against teams that are still in contention. The same format applies to Group F.
The top four teams in each group will proceed to the crossover quarterfinal. The top team in Group E will play the Group F fourth placer, the Group E second placer will take on the Group F third placer, the Group E third placer will face the Group F runner-up and the Group E fourth placer will meet the Group F topnotcher in the knockout stage.
The four winners will proceed to the semifinal. The semifinal winners will then advance to the final while the losers will fight for the bronze medal.
The top three finishers will earn a ticket to the FIBA World Cup.
Majority of preliminary round games will be held at the Mall of Asia (MoA) Arena in Pasay City while several matches will take place at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium in the neighboring city of Manila.
The quarterfinal, semifinal, final and classification games will be held at the MoA Arena.
The Philippines is aiming to reclaim the Asian crown after a strong fourth-place finish two years ago in Wuhan. The Filipinos won this tournament in 1960, 1963, 1967 and 1973 when it last hosted the biennial event. The Philippines also ruled this tournament in 1985 but was later disqualified due to player eligibility issues.
Defending champion China is still the favorite to win this event having won five of the last seven editions. Also expected to contend for the prestigious title are Iran, who won back-to-back Asian titles in 2007 and 2009, two-time champion South Korea and Middle East powerhouses Jordan and Qatar.
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