Gilas Pilipinas is already familiar with Iraq.
Topping Group B is what Gilas is targeting right now since each group's no.1 team will automatically make it to the quarterfinal round and will face the victor of the match between the Group D No.2 and Group C no.3 team.
The Philippines are coming off a 96-87 win over rivals and reigning Asian champions China on their Wednesday's opening game. And while China was down names like Yi Jianlian and Zhou Qi for Wednesday's affair, Gilas Pilipinas had to go without June Mar Fajardo.
Victory saw Gilas exact some revenge for the 2015 FIBA Asia final in Changsha, when China - with the aid of what many observers felt were some highly questionable calls - beat Philippines 78-67 to lift the title. He hit a total of five three-point shots and shot an efficient 64.3 percent from the field. The Filipinos were able to hold the lead from there as they celebrated the big win after the final buzzer much to the dismay of the Chinese players.
Kevin Galloway simply didn't play along with the narrative.
Iraq's surge creates quite the interesting chess match of sorts for Friday morning.
Gilas Pilipinas mainstay Jayson Castro (11) beats a Chinese defender as he glides to the hoop unopposed. Matthew Wright also had a big game with 12 points while Calvin Abueva was ejected after just a minute and 31 seconds in the court, as reported by SPIN.ph.
In the beginning, China tipped off and got possession, getting two points in as many minutes.
Romeo scored the next eight points, two long triples and a tough fadeaway jumper, and that was the game right there. Withstanding an onslaught of 23 points from Abdulrahman Saad was a feat on its own, though Qatar's depth didn't show up in a way in which the talent around Romeo might.
"It's only one win".
A personification of a West Asia resurgence thanks to its return, Iraq has already made a point to stress it isn't the usual underdog to glance over in group play.
Scores and results of Gilas Pilipinas vs Iraq will be posted here.
It is essential for Gilas Pilipinas to sweep the group to avoid an early clash with powerhouses Australia and New Zealand in the playoff phase of the tournament and have a better chance of going deep into the tournament and having a crack at the crown.
Information courtesy of FIBA unless otherwise specified.