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Friday, August 16, 2013

The Philippines in the FIBA World Cup (formerly known as FIBA World Championship)

This post is one of the continuations of the blog post: Philippine National Team Records in Official Tournaments.

Most Americans treat the Olympic Games as the pinnacle of basketball but for the rest of the world, the FIBA World Cup (formerly known as FIBA World Championship) is the most prestigious and most important tourney in the basketball world.

The Philippines qualified seven times but only participated in four World Championships.

In 1954, the Carlos Loyzaga-led Islanders captured the bronze medal losing only to both finalists, the United States and Brazil. The third place finished was the best finished by an Asian team in the World Championship. The Great Difference (Loyzaga) himself finished as the tournament’s third leading scorer (16ppg) and was named in the all-tournament mythical five selections.

In 1959, the Philippines finished eighth with a 4-2 win-loss record. In 1963, the Philippines was selected to host the World Championship but the Macapagal administration refused the entries of basketball teams from the communist bloc leading to the country’s suspension from major FIBA tournaments as well as losing its spot in that year’s World Championship.

Coach Tito Eduque instructing his players at the 1974 FIBA World Championship [l-r: Abet Guidaben (#9), Yoyong Martirez, Tembong Melencio (#6), and Robert Jaworski (#7)]

In 1974, the Philippines returned to the world tournament but ended the campaign with its worst finished ever. In 1978, the Philippines finally able to host the World Championship and along with defending champion Soviet Union directly qualified to the play-off round. The Philippines finished 8th in front of the home crowd with Yugoslavia winning the tournament.

In 1986, the Philippines qualified in the World Championship but the idiots in the Basketball Association of the Philippines (BAP) wanted to play sports with politics and decided not to send a team that they saw as a product of a Marcos crony. They were even too lazy to form a new team despite having four months to prepare after the EDSA Revolution.

In 2014, the Philippines were one of the underdogs, qualified for the first time since 1986 and played for the first time since 1978. Everybody predicted that the team will get hammered but the team put basketball powers on the edge and despite losing those games, the margin remained closed in the end. However, the team won their last assignment against Senegal, the country's first World Cup victory in 40 years.

Here are the official record of the Philippine National Basketball Team in the FIBA Basketball World Cup (World Basketball Championship).

Appearances: 5 (1954, 1959, 1974, 1978, 2014)
Qualified: 7 (1954, 1959, 1963, 1974, 1978, 1986, 2014)
Medals: 1 medal (1 bronze medal)
Best Finished: Bronze (1954)
Win-Loss Record: 34 games (13 wins, 21 losses)

PHL's Ever World Cup Game: PHL vs. Paraguay
1950: Did Not Participate

1954: 3rd place (bronze) [vs. Paraguay, 64-52; vs. Brazil, 63-99; vs. United States, 43-56; vs. Taiwan, 48-38; vs. Israel, 90-56; vs. Brazil, 41-57; vs. Canada, 83-76; vs. France, 66-60; vs. Uruguay, 67-63]

1959: 8th place [vs. Uruguay, 68-59; vs. Bulgaria, 61-85; vs. Puerto Rico, 63-76; vs. Egypt, 66-65; vs. Canada, 79-65; vs. Uruguay, 78-70]

1963: Withdrew (Suspended by FIBA)*
1967: Did Not Participate
1970: Did Not Qualify

1974: 13th place [vs. United States, 85-135; vs. Argentina, 90-111; vs. Spain, 85-117; vs. Australia, 101-100; vs. Mexico, 84-101; vs. Czechoslovakia, 112-119; vs. Central Africa, 87-86]

1978**: 8th place [vs. Yugoslavia, 101-117; vs. Soviet Union, 63-110; vs. Brazil, 72-119; vs. Italy, 75-112; vs. Australia, 52-97; vs. Canada, 88-99; vs. United States, 70-100]

1982: Did Not Qualify
1986: Qualified but Did Not Participate***
1987-2010: Did Not Qualify
2014: 21st place [vs. Croatia, 78-81; vs. Greece, 70-82; vs. Argentina, 81-85, vs. Puerto Rico, 73-77; vs. Senegal, 81-79]

[*] In 1963, FIBA suspended the Philippines for its failure to stage the 1963 FIBA World Championship after President Diosdado Macapagal refused to allow players from Yugoslavia and other communist countries to enter the country.
[**] Host Nation.
[***] In 1986, despite having enough time to prepare a national team (five months after the people’s power uprising), the Basketball Association (BAP) did not send a contingent to the 1986 FIBA World Championship.

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