Full disclosure: My one and only bias in the sport of basketball is that I am going to be delusional and irrational of my home team, the Gilas Pilipinas, also known as Philippines. I was really hyped when ‘WE’ made the 2014 FIBA World Cup and heartbroken/hopeful when they made some noise on the 2014 tournament.

The 2016 Rio Olympics is than a year away and around this time , the Basketball Qualifiers in North America, Asia, Oceania, Africa and Europe and their teams compete for 12 precious spots in the Basketball Olympics. You may wonder how the teams get in the tournament and when these  games will occur. This photo, courtesy of fiba.com will show you how countries qualify for the Basketball Olympics. 

Road to Rio 2016 - FIBA.com
Road to Rio 2016 – FIBA.com

As stated above, there are only twelve teams that will qualify for the Olympic games.
The U.S. is already in because the team won the 2014 FIBA World Cup (yes, the name changed from FIBA World Championship, mainly due to efforts to brand the tournament like the more-popular FIFA World Cup). Brazil is also qualified because this is the host country for the Olympics (host countries are almost always qualified for these types of inter-country competitions) after the FIBA committee chose it on Aug. 9, 2015. That means that there are ten spots left for next year’s Basketball-a-palooza, and don’t you worry, I will walk you through the ways the  rest of the ten spots will be filled.

2015 FIBA Oceania Championship:

It’s a two-game series between the Boomers of Australia and the Tall Blacks of New Zealand (I am outraged that Fiji and Vanuatu don’t have a chance to qualify). Whoever has the most points between the two teams in those two games wins the series and gets to go to the Olympics; the loser won’t be left empty-handed as they will still compete for the 2016 FIBA World Olympic Qualifying Tournament, which we will get into later on.

The Oz won the series by winning both games on Aug. 15 and 18 to the scores of 71-59 and 89-79. The Oz now goes to the Olympics, and New Zealand still has a chance at next year’s tournament.

2015 FIBA AfroBasket

One ticket is up for grabs for the Olympics and the second and fourth place teams will qualify for the Final Olympic Qualifying Tournament for the African Region. Those four teams are already been established as Nigeria, Senegal, Angola and Tunisia willed their ways to the semifinals. The semifinals happened on Aug. 29 as Senegal and Nigeria faced-off and so did Tunisia and Angola. Angola and Nigeria went on to the Finals and Nigeria secured their ticket to Rio by the score of 74-65.

2015 FIBA Americas

Two slots will be up for grabs for the Olympics, and another three will qualify for the Final Olympic Qualifying Tournament for the America Region and the tournament will start on Aug. 31.

The tournament consists of ten participating countries. The first round is divided into two groups with five teams each group, playing a single-round robin style. The top four of each group advance to the second round with their respective points being carried to the next round. Second round consists of games played by a team against the other qualified team from the opposite group. It is basically Group A vs. Group B in the second round and the four teams that have the higher points advance to the semifinals, while the fifth-place team gets a ticket to the Final Olympic Qualifying Tournament. Finally, the two semifinal winners will guarantee themselves a seat at the Olympics, while the other two get to go to next year’s Final Olympic Qualifying Tournament.

EuroBasket 2015

Dirk Nowitzki - Albert Pena/Icon Sportswire
Dirk Nowitzki – Albert Pena/Icon Sportswire

This is no doubt the best region out of the rest, even though a EuroBasket country hasn’t won an Olympic Gold or FIBA World Cup (then FIBA World Championship) since Spain won the 2006 FIBA Gold. Croatia, France, Germany and Latvia will host the EuroBasket games. Twenty-four teams will be playing in this competition. The tournament consists of four groups with six teams each. The top four of each group advance to the next round (Round of 16). From that point on, it will be a knockout-type, win-or-go-home tournament. Only the finalists (1st and 2nd place) get the automatic bid to Rio, while 3rd and 7th place finishers get to go to the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament.

Look for España, France and Lithuania to go at it for those two coveted slots. Don’t be surprised if Greece, Croatia, Serbia (2014 FIBA World Cup Silver Medalists) or Russia sneak up on the powerhouse teams.

FIBA Asia 2015

Jordan Clarkson - David Blair/Zuma Press/Icon Sportswire
Jordan Clarkson – David Blair/Zuma Press/Icon Sportswire

The Philippine fans have something to look forward to with their team, Gilas Pilipinas, this year. They will be joined by LA Lakers guard Jordan Clarkson, who said that he’s “all-in” in terms of joining the Philippine team. It is a bummer that he can only play up to the Sept. 27 game due to the greedy LA Lakers franchise wanting their guard to be back for the start of their training camp on Sept. 28.

Anyway, here’s how the tournament works:

There will be 16 teams playing in the tournament. Four groups comprised of four teams each. The top three of each group go on to the next round, and those 12 teams will be split into two groups (in that round, they’ll play an additional three games against the opposing group).  The top four out of the six in the two groups advance to the Quarterfinals. From that point on, it will be a knockout stage, and 1st place earns the automatic bid to the Olympics, and 2nd and 3rd earn the invite to the FIBA Olympic Final Qualifying; I sure hope that my Gilas Pilipinas wins the Gold.

2016 FIBA World Olympic Qualifying Tournament

The number of teams in this tournament is yet to be determined. The 2012 version of this tournament had 12 teams, 2016 is slated to have 16 teams fighting for the last three slots for the Olympics. The tournament will be held on July 5-11 of next year, and the host country is yet to be determined.

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Charles Baluyot
A basketball freak; not so much on the court, but definitely a freak when it comes to love of the game. Charles rarely misses a game, a box score or the best basketball highlight. Charles will always have an opinion in basketball, whether you love it or hate it. Charles is a California State University Long Beach graduate and self proclaimed NBA gasbag.

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