One of the host nations this summer, the Philippines doesn’t stand much of a shot in the competition. Being a host, however, has its perks, such as getting some crowd juice behind the country.
The country is making its seventh appearance in the event, where its best finish came with a bronze in 1954. The nation is ranked 40th in FIBA, so it’s standing in a 32-team field isn’t great.
The great hope for the country is Jordan Clarkson, who gets to do what he does best as a member of the Philippines: score in bunches. He played a couple of games last season for the team and put up Ja Morant-like numbers, averaging 25 points, 6.5 assists, and 5.5 rebounds per game in those two contests.
There’s no other name NBA fans are likely to recognize on the team’s squad, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t legends of the nation’s basketball landscape around. Scottie Thompson, for one, has won the MVP award in the country’s league and has won seven titles in the Philippines.
Another player to look out for is Kai Sotto, a big man who latched on to G League Ignite, but didn’t ultimately have a chance to play for the developmental squad. He has played professionally in Australia in recent years and even had a stint on the Orlando Magic’s Summer League squad last month. The 7-foot-3 center averaged 13.3 points and 9.3 rebounds per game during qualifiers.
The Philippines lost all three of their group stage games in the 2019 World Cup. Italy and Angola were both in that group and are again this time, as well as the Dominican Republic. With no elite squads in the group, the Philippines has a chance to sneak up on all visitors.