Gilas Women will have to go through another perennial contender if they are to keep their medal hopes alive in the 19th Asian Games basketball competitions.
The Philippine team is set to meet South Korea in the quarterfinals on Monday at 8 p.m. at the Shaoxing Olympic Sports Centre Gymnasium in Zhejiang, China.
It sure is a tough predicament for the crew, as they will have to pull off an upset against a program that’s keen on winning its fifth Asiad title.
But how did they end up there?
Unlike in the men’s tilt where each of the four group’s top seeds head into the quarters outright, the women’s competition format is far different.
With only three groups of four teams, the top eight sides in the combined ranking at the end of the preliminaries will comprise the quarterfinal cast.
Per Asiad rules, each teams ranked 1 to 4 will play against one of the teams ranked 5 to 8, with the exact pairings to be decided via draw.
Teams from the same group, though, cannot play one another in the quarters.
Gilas ended up as the fifth seed in the combined rankings with a 2-1 card behind unbeaten teams Japan, China, and SoKor, and North Korea.
NoKor emerged as the fourth seed after finishing no. 2 in Group C behind the South with a 2-1 slate – and with better quotient than the Philippines.
The Filipina dribblers’ situation could have been better had they won against the Japanese in their final group phase assignment on Sunday night.
But the Akatsuki Women, bronze medalists in the last four Asian Games, were just too much to handle and breezed to the 96-59 victory.
Japan finished the preliminaries as the no. 1 seed, and was drawn to face Indonesia, the eighth-ranked team, in the knockouts’ first round.
Going back to the Philippines, the luck of the draw saw it get paired up with South Korea, the third-seeded team heading into the playoffs at 3-0 as well.
The said draw was held on Sunday night as well, shortly after the final game of the women’s pool stage that saw the Indonesians beat Mongolia, 69-64.