Angola coach points out one Gilas advantage ahead of 2019 FIBA World Cup

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 19) — It's a reality! Gilas Pilipinas will enter the 2019 FIBA World Cup as one of the underdogs.

The men's national basketball squad will battle powerhouse Serbia, Italy, and Angola in Group D of the first round.

Despite the odds, Angola's head coach Will Voigt is seeing a bright spot that Gilas can take advantage of heading into the international hoops tilt. He explained that with most of the Filipino players competing in the same league, it's easier to arrange the schedule of team practices.

"With the exception of Andray (Blatche), all your guys are playing locally so it's easy for you to get your national team together," he told CNN Philippines Sports Desk Monday.

Voigt also said that the support of Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas to Gilas is something he envies because it's different from what his troop is facing.

"I'm only saying this from afar but it seems like your federation really supports the national team. We have a similar situation, a strong domestic league and a lot of our national players are there, but the situation we run into is the financial support from our government," he said.

With some of Serbian and Italian players playing in the National Basketball Association, Voigt said their respective countries can begin training only when their stars return from the pro league.

"The European teams are gonna have to wait for their guys to go back from their pro teams. At best, they're starting in July. For us, for financial reasons, we're probably looking at the same thing. It's unlikely we would have done anything as team prior to that," he said.

The 2019 FIBA World Cup will run from August 31 to September 15 in China.