Gilas Pilipinas is likely to have Saudi Arabia as its opening game opponent when the FIBA-Asia Championship fires off on Aug. 1 at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
Though FIBA-Asia is yet to release the schedule for the preliminary round, it is speculated that the Nationals will be pitted against a light opponent before taking on the bigwigs.
The Philippines is in the same bracket with Saudi Arabia, 2011 first-runner up Jordan and Taiwan. From these grouping, Saudi Arabia appears to be the weakest.
FIBA Asia is expected to release the preliminary schedule soonest as team practices will have to be scheduled in different venues around the city. The MOA Arena, which is the main venue, will not be used for practice.
SBP deputy Executive Director Bernie Atienza said practice may be held at the University of Makati, Treston College and The Astrodome in Pasay City. The PSC has offered the Ninoy Aquino Stadium as an alternative.