Gilas Pilipinas will have their work cut out for them after getting pooled with three powerhouses in Group D as the draw for the FIBA World Cup concluded earlier at the Shenzhen Bay Arena in China.
The draw, which was attended by NBA legends Kobe Bryant and Yao Ming, saw the Philippines get grouped with European favorites Serbia and Italy, as well as perennial FIBA Africa champions Angola.
Group D will play in Foshan in the World Cup staging on August 16 to September 31.
Italy, ranked 13th in the world, may banner Los Angeles Clippers forward Danilo Gallinari and San Antonio Spurs three-point specialist Marco Bellinelli.
Meanwhile, world No. 4 Serbia could possibly trot a formidable lineup with Denver Nuggets All-Star center Nikola Jokic, Sacramento Kings teammates Bogdan Bogdanovic and Nemanja Bjelica, and 7-foot-3 giant Boban Marjanovic in the fold come tournament time.
Angola won’t be a cakewalk for Gilas Pilipinas too as they’ve emerged as champions from Africa 11 times from 1989 to 2017.
32 nations will compete in eight groups, with only two of four teams from each group advancing to the next round.
Here are the other groupings:
1. Ivory Coast
3. Puerto Rico
2. Czech Republic
2. New Zealand
1. Dominican Republic