President Rodrigo Duterte does not think Gilas Pilipinas will go very far in the FIBA World Cup in China later this month.
Duterte spoke at a gathering of Filipino-Chinese businessmen at Malacañang Tuesday evening. In his remarks he said China, ranked one spot ahead of Gilas Pilipinas at No. 30, is a better bet and insulted the Italian national team in the process.
"Walang tayo diyan. China na lang tayo magpusta. Wala talaga tayo. We will lose dito sa Italian, ang lalaki kaya niyang mga gagong 'yan," Duterte said to laughter from the audience.
Gilas Pilipinas' first assignment is against Italy, ranked 13th in the world. The roster features NBA players Danilo Gallinari and Marco Bellinelli.
Duterte predicted an easy win for Gilas against 39th-ranked Angola, which the team will face last in the qualification stage on September 2.
"Dito, ang sunod natin Angola. Ah ito, pwede natin ilibing nang buhay," Duterte said.
Duterte did not have a prediction about Serbia, the No. 4 ranked team in the world.
The president is set to fly to China later this month to meet with Chinese Pres. Xi Jinping and watch the World Cup in Foshan.