As the FIBA World Cup draws closer, Gilas Pilipinas’ upcoming opponent, Angola, faces a challenging road in their preparation. The African powerhouse endured a winless campaign in the King’s Cup pocket tournament held in Amman, Jordan, signaling potential struggles on the horizon.
Angola’s tournament journey concluded with a hard-fought 72-67 loss to Portugal on Monday, August 7, marking their third consecutive defeat in the competition. Eduardo Francisco led the charge for Angola, contributing 17 points, while Bruno Fernando of the Atlanta Hawks added 9 points in a valiant effort.
The King’s Cup also witnessed Angola’s defeats at the hands of Mexico, who emerged victorious with a narrow 78-76 margin, and host nation Jordan, who secured a 70-56 victory. These losses underscore Angola’s challenges as they gear up for the highly anticipated FIBA World Cup.
Ranked 41st in the world, Angola is grouped with the Philippines, Dominican Republic, and Italy in Group A. The spotlight shines on the Philippines’ matchup against Angola, with the 40th-ranked Filipinos aiming to secure a win against their African opponents.
Gilas Pilipinas has a significant incentive for a strong performance in the World Cup – the opportunity to secure an outright berth in the 2024 Paris Olympics by finishing as the best Asian team in the tournament. This motivation amplifies the importance of every victory in the upcoming World Cup matches.
The upcoming clash between Gilas Pilipinas and Angola carries historical significance, with memories of their previous encounter in the 2019 World Cup still fresh. Led by former Toronto Raptors signee Carlos Morais and Valdelicio Joaquim, Angola secured an 84-81 overtime victory against the Philippines, leaving a lasting impact on both teams.
For Gilas Pilipinas, the World Cup journey took an unfortunate turn, as they concluded the tournament in the last position among the 32 participating nations, having faced defeat in all five of their games.
However, Gilas Pilipinas is poised for redemption with the inclusion of Utah Jazz star Jordan Clarkson and the towering presence of Kai Sotto. The team aspires to overturn the narrative and emerge triumphant in their World Cup rematch against Angola, scheduled for August 27 at the Araneta Coliseum.
As anticipation builds for this pivotal showdown, the Filipino basketball community rallies behind Gilas Pilipinas, eager to witness a spirited performance that reflects the team’s growth, determination, and resilience. The upcoming clash is a crucial stepping stone for Gilas Pilipinas’s journey to make their mark on the global basketball stage. With the support of their fans, the team is set to face the challenges ahead with unwavering determination.