A Guide to the Philippines Men’s Basketball Team

03 Aug 2023


The Philippines men’s basketball team, nicknamed ‘Gilas Pilipinas’, has one of the most passionate followings across the globe and is among the most successful Asian basketball programmes: the side has claimed a FIBA Basketball World Cup bronze medal, a fifth–place finish at the Olympic Games and five FIBA Asia Cup golds. 

This powerhouse of Southeast Asian basketball is set to co-host the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup, alongside Japan and Indonesia. Keen to discover more about the Philippines men’s basketball team before the tournament tips off? Well, the Courtside 1891 team have put together this in-depth guide. Read on to discover everything you need to know. 

Team Presentation Video

Increase your knowledge about the Philippines and the successes of Gilas Pilipinas with the help of our Team Discovery Video. 


The perfect primer for the upcoming FIBA Basketball World Cup, this video will provide you with plenty of stats and facts you can drop on your buddies next time you’re hooping.  

  • Pre-World Cup FIBA Men’s World Ranking - 40th 
  • 1 bronze medal at the FIBA Basketball World Cup 
  • 5 FIBA Asia Cup golds and 4 Asian Games titles
  • Carlos Loyzaga will be posthumously inducted into the FIBA Hall of Fame on the eve of the World Cup
  • Qualified for the FIBA Basketball World Cup 7 times
  • FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 Group A (alongside Angola, the Dominican Republic and Italy), which will be played in the Manilla municipalities of Bocaue and Quezon City, in the Philippines

Team Presentation - Philippines - FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023

World Cup Qualification

As they’re co-hosting the
2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup, the Philippines basketball team automatically qualified for the tournament. However, they did still take part in the qualification process and had some memorable moments in front of their home crowd.

In the first qualification phase, the Philippines were drawn in Group A, alongside South Korea, New Zealand and India. However, South Korea ultimately had to pull out of the FIBA World Cup qualifiers. This is because they were forced to forfeit games due to positive COVID-19 cases. 

In the four games Basketball Philippines played in this part of qualifying, they won both of their matches against India and lost both of their matchups with New Zealand. This meant the team finished second in the group and advanced to the second qualification phase. 

They were then drawn against New Zealand, Lebanon, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and India in Group E. Here, they won a further four games and claimed third ahead of Jordan based on a head-to-head record (164-157). 

In total, across both qualifying phases, the side won six of their 10 games and finished on 16 points. Incidentally, this third-place finish in Group E 

meant the team would have secured qualification for FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 anyway, had it not already been guaranteed.

Best Plays 

Want to see the best baskets, dimes and dunks from the Philippines at the 2023
FIBA Basketball World Cup Qualifiers? Take a look at the video below, which showcases their Top 10 plays. Keep an eye out for Jordan Clarkson’s full-court pass to Kai Sotto against Lebanon. Coast-to-coast in less than a second!

Best Plays - Philippines - FIBA Basketball World Cup Qualifiers 2023

Current Star Players

The Philippines announced a provisional 21-player roster for the FIBA Basketball World Cup on June 6, 2023. The star attraction of this expanded roster is undoubtedly Utah Jazz guard Jordan ‘JC’ Clarkson, who is hoping to make his FIBA Basketball World Cup debut with the Philippines in 2023 after becoming a naturalized player. His Filipino citizenship is by virtue of ancestral descent.

An explosive off-the-bench scorer with a score-first mentality, Clarkson has developed into a solid NBA role player since he was drafted in 2014 by the Los Angeles Lakers. He was named on the NBA All-Rookie First Team in 2015 and was also voted as the NBA Sixth Man of the Year in 2021. 

JC received a hero's welcome when he made his Philippines debut during window four of the qualifiers. Having the green light to be the main man on offense certainly suits his game and expectations are high that he can steer Gilas Pilipinas into the later rounds of the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup.  

Clarkson is joined in the extended squad by two more naturalized players: Justin Brownlee and Ange Kouame. However, while all three are currently in the player pool, only one can make the final squad.

Born in the relatively small city of Las Piñas, Kai Sotto has been a Philippines prodigy since it was announced they would be a Basketball World Cup host nation back in December 2017. Now 21 years old, he is on the radar of NBA scouts and he even received a call up to the Orlando Magic Summer League squad this off-season.  

Legends of the Team 

If you visit Manila or Quezon City and ask Filipino citizens about their favorite players, you’ll hear one name more than all others combined: Carlos ‘Caloy’ Loyzaga. A powerful center who could bend a game to his will, Loyzaga was one of the greatest big men of his generation.

Known as ‘The Big Difference’, Loyzaga helped the Philippines become one of the world’s most feared sides during the 1950s and 60s. As the team’s on-court leader, he was central to helping the side claim four consecutive Asian Games gold medals and two FIBA Asia Cups. 

His finest moment undoubtedly came at the 1954 FIBA Basketball World Cup, where he guided the side to a medal finish. His performances were rewarded with a spot in the All-Tournament Team. Today, he remains the only Filipino player to ever achieve this accolade.

After his playing career finished, Loyzaga returned to the national side as head coach. He then guided the Philippines to gold at the 1967 FIBA Asia Cup.

For all he achieved in the game, Carlos Loyzaga will be posthumously inducted into the FIBA Hall of Fame later this year. He will become the first Filipino to receive the honor.

Historical World Cup Performance

The Philippines won the bronze medal at the FIBA Basketball World Cup in 1954. However, through a combination of suspensions, withdrawals and failures to qualify, the squad has only appeared at the FIBA Basketball World Cup six times over the years. Plus, when they have appeared, they’ve rarely left a mark on the tournament. Since finishing third in 1954, their highest finish at the tournament has been eighth.  

With the 2023 edition of the FIBA Basketball World Cup taking place on home soil, Gilas Pilipinas will be hoping the vocal home crowd can cheer them to their best finish in more than 50 years! 

Previous Successes and Tournament Wins

The Philippines side has also enjoyed a checkered history at the Summer Olympics. The side performed strongly at the Games between 1936 and 1972, but they have not qualified for the tournament since. To date, their best finish remains at the 1936 Olympics, when they came fifth. 

That said, the Philippines have continually excelled at the local level and remain powerhouses of Asian basketball. The side has won five FIBA Asia Cup golds, four silvers and one bronze medal. They’ve also won four Asian Games titles, as well as a silver and two bronze medals. 

How to Stream Gilas Pilipinas World Cup Games 

Want to see how the Philippines can perform on home soil? Worldwide fans can stream every FIBA Basketball World Cup game, as well as all the action from other top global tournaments, with us. As FIBA’s premium streaming partner for the World Cup, Courtside 1891 is the only platform with access to every 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup game. 

To make sure you never miss a single second of the action, download our app, which is available on the App Store and Google Play. Alternatively, sign up to our website platform. But, please be aware that due to broadcasting rights and restrictions, access to some games might be restricted depending on your location.

Want to discover more about when each game will be played? Head over to the Courtside 1891 Game Center. Here you’ll find matchup times in your country.