Team Pilipinas got a favorable draw at FIBA Asia 2009

Now it is called Group of Hope. Team Pilipinas are bracketed with Korea, Japan and Sri Lanka, giving a sigh of hope in its campaign of FIBA Asia Champioinship on August 6-16, with a new longer format of elimination.

Under the new format said to be patterned after the World Cup of Soccer, Powerade-RP just needs to be in the top three in its group to make the next round playing the top three in Group B.

Current champs Iran are bracketed in Group B with Chinese-Taipei, Kuwait and Uzbekistan. Group C has Kazakhstan, Qatar, China and India, while Lebanon, Jordan, United Arab Emirates and Indonesia, slug it out in Group D. Host country China has the option to choose which group they would belong, and chose a group with an easier path to the quarterfinals.

The format calls for each group to play one round in the first phase. The top three from each group advance to the next round where qualifiers from Group A ranged against counterparts from Group B and qualifiers from Group C taking on counterparts from Group D, carrying over their first-round record excluding the result of the game against the eliminated team.

The luck of the draw has prevented Team Pilipinas in facing powerhouse teams China, Lebanon and Jordan until the quarterfinal round. "Korea and Japan are no pushovers. We still have to work very hard, scout them and do our homework," said Team Pilipinas coach Yeng Guiao, referring to the heartaches given by these teams in the past tourneys.

Team Pilipinas still needs to win all elimination games, or at worst, lose only one, as the top four teams from the two groups (A/B and C/D) then meet in a 1st place vs. 4th place, 2nd vs. 3rd cross-over quarterfinals, with the winners moving to the cross-over semifinals.

The top three finishers will earn tickets to represent Asia at the World Championships in Turkey next year.

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