FIBA Olympic Qualifying groups selected: Manila deemed ‘group of death’

Intercontinental powerhouses Canada, France, Turkey, and New Zealand joins Philippines in FIBA Olympic Qualifying ‘group of death’ for one of three spots in Rio.

FIBA Americas powerhouse Canada and perennial Eurobasket conrtender France will make its way to Manila as heavy favorites when the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament for men tips off this July.

Host nation Philippines, which finished second to China in the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship, will have a tough time in Group B against France and New Zealand. Canada, on the other hand, are grouped together with Afrobasket fourth place Senegal and invitee Turkey in Group A.

In the Belgrade bracket, host nation Serbia is placed in Group A with AfroBasket runner-up Angola and Americas championship fifth placer Puerto Rico. Group B comprises of Latvia, Czech Republic, and Japan.

Meanwhile, the Turin bracket will have Greece, Mexico, and Iran in Group A, while host Italy were placed in Group B together with Tunisia and Croatia to round out the draw.

With five of the six teams competing in the Manila bracket in the top 30 of the world rankings, an early analysis of the said grouping ranks it as the “group of death” among the qualifying tournaments.

Teams in their respective groups will compete in a round-robin tournament, where the top two finishers will advance to the semi-final round. The semi-final winners will face each other for one of the spots in the 2016 Rio Olympics tournament.

In the women’s Olympic qualifier, tournament host France is drawn in Group A together with Cuba and New Zealand. Group B comprises of Cameroon, Turkey, and Argentina. Group C holds Belarus, Korea and Nigeria. Finally, Group D will have Venezuela, Spain, and China.

Unlike the men, the tournament will have four groups, where the top two teams advance to the quarterfinal round. The winners of the quarterfinal games gain automatic berths in the Olympics, while the top team among the quarterfinal losers will snare the last spot to the Rio games.

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