In preparation for the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) this July in Manila, the Gilas Pilipinas men’s basketball team arranged a pair of friendly matches against Iran and Turkey.
The Gilas squad will play Asian powerhouse Iran on June 7 and 8. Before facing Turkey on July 1, the Filipinos will embark on a 17-day European tour to play a series of tune-up games against Italy, Canada, and China.
In an interview by FOX Sports, Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) executive director for international affairs Butch Antonio said the scheduled friendly match against the Iranians on June 7 will be played in closed door, as requested by Iran. The second game will be open to public at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
The Iranians are set to join the OQT in Turin, Italy where they are bracketed with Greece and Mexico in Group A. Turkey will participate in the Manila leg along with Senegal and Canada in Group A. The Filipinos are in Group B with France and New Zealand. Six other teams are also vying for a slot in Belgrade, Serbia.
The champions of each qualifying tournament will join the United States, China, Brazil, Australia, Spain, Lithuania, Venezuela, Argentina, and Nigeria to the Rio Olympics.