Although Gilas Pilipinas already has a sure spot in the 2023 Fiba World Cup Qualifiers, the team won’t be taking it easy anytime soon said national team coach Tab Baldwin. Instead, he wants the team to earn its way to the cup.

According to Baldwin, they’ll be competing like they’re not guaranteed a slot in the international tournament. 

“It’s gonna be a tough group but I’m positive and encouraged by the fact that I think we can do well and then enter the second phase with some success and earn our right instead of being gifted the right to the World Cup,” Baldwin said in a report from Inquirer.

“Earn our right and I think that would be best for the players’ mentality as well,” he emphasized. 

Team Pilipinas was guaranteed a place in the World Cup after being chosen as one of the three host countries. And along with New Zealand, South Korea, and India, Gilas was drawn in Group A. 

With long-time rival South Korea in the match-up, Baldwin said this will be more than just a game.

“First thing that came in to my mind was Korea again. Knowing that it’s gonna be it’s more than just a game. We have to play them twice again and there’s gonna be some feelings in that because of the last game,” Baldwin shared after Tuesday’s draw. 

In the June FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers held in Pampanga, Gilas and South Korea faced each other once again. However, the PH team stunned SK, winning all games against the foreign challenger. 

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Image credit: Gilas Pilipinas’ Official Facebook Page