Paris Olympics ticket high on Filipinos’ minds

By Robert Andaya

The Philippines men’s basketball team’s dream of making it to the 2024 Paris Olympics is not over yet.

Despite finishing with only a 1-4 win-loss record and missing the lone ticket as Asia’s representative, the Filipinos can still earn their place via backdoor.

That’s because the Philippines will be one of the 24 countries given the chance by FIBA to vie for the remaining four Olympic tickets during Olympic qualifying tournaments scheduled in the summer of 2024.

As per FIBA, eight of the 12 seats in the 2024 Paris Olympics have already been filled up through the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023.

The eight countries in the Olympic list so far are France, Australia, Canada, Germany, Japan, Serbia, South Sudan and the United States.

As host country, France is assured of an outright ticket to the Olympics.

Germany and Serbia, the top two teams in the FIBA World Cup, booked the two tickets for Europe. 

The United States and Canada, which reached the semifinals of the FIBA-organized competition in Manila, booked the two seats for the Americas.

Japan took the lone ticket from Asia, as did South Sudan for Africa.

Australia earned its place as the lone representative of Oceania.

With only four seats left, the battle shifts to the FIBA Olympics qualifying tournaments where a total of 24 teams is eligible to participate.

“It’s been a while since we’ve been to the Olympics. The last time was in 1972 Munich Olympics ,” said Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) president Al Panlilio.

“The goal right now is to be the best-ranking team in Asia in the World Cup to advance to Paris,”added Panlilio.

Led by Freddie Webb and Bogs Adornado, the Philippines finished 13th out of 16 countries in the Munich Olympics with a 3-6 win-loss record.

The Filipinos won over Senegal, 68-62, in the elimination round, and Egypt and Japan, 82-73, in the classification stage

The other members of the Ignacio Ramos-mentored Philippine team were Danny Florencio,, Manny Paner., Jimmy Mariano, Ed Ocampo, Yoyong Martirez, Rogelio “Tembong” Melencio. Ricardo “Joy” Cleofas and Adrino Papa.

Aside from the Philippines, the other 18 countries which will vie for the remaining four Olympics tickets are Angola, Brazil , Côte d’ Ivoire, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Finland, Georgia, Greece Italy, Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Mexico, Montenegro, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, Slovenia and Spain  

Completing the 24 -team cast are the five winners of FIBA pre-qualifying tournaments held earlier this year, namely the Bahamas, Bahrain, Cameroon, Croatia, and Poland.

As per FIBA, the 24 countries will be split into four OQT legs, with the four winners punching their tickets to Paris.

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