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Gilas to face Iran twice, then tour Europe in OQT build-up
MANILA (2016 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournaments) - The Philippines will square off against Iran in two friendly games and also cap a 17-day European tour by playing in a warm-up event in Italy before hosting the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) in Manila.
Gilas will meet visiting Iran at the at the Smart Araneta Coliseum 7-8 June, with the first of those meetings behind closed doors.
Tune-up game: Gilas Pilipinas vs Iran on June 7/8 at Smart Araneta Coliseum— Gilas Pilipinas (@smartgilasph) May 5, 2016
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The two sides know each other well. They faced each other at last year's FIBA Asia Championship in Changsha-Hunan, China, with the Philippines pulling away in the last quarter.
"The tournament is just simple. The winners of the first day will face each other on the second day, while the losers will play against each other also on the second day," said Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas executive director for international affairs Butch Antonio.
The Philippines will host their OQT 5-10 July and take on France and New Zealand in Group B. In Group A will be Turkey, Senegal and Canada. Only the side that wins the OQT will clinch a spot in the Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
Gilas finished runners-up at the last couple of FIBA Asia Championships, including in 2013 when the country staged the competition. Gilas also played at the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup in Spain, where they claimed a victory over Senegal.
At last year's FIBA Asia Championship in Changsha, Baldwin's side looked good on their way to the title game but fell to hosts China. The Chinese, therefore, qualified directly for the Olympics.