President Rodrigo Duterte did not mince words when he spoke about the Philippines’ national basketball team representing the country in the upcoming FIBA World Cup. According to the president, Gilas Pilipinas has no chance of winning and Filipinos might as well cheer for China.

The Philippine national basketball team is headed to China late this August to participate in the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019. The team secured a spot in the global tournament after finishing fourth in the Asia World Cup qualifiers.

A basketball-crazy country, Filipino fans are hoping Gilas Pilipinas, the country’s national team, would finally break the drought and bring the country back to the Olympics. However, for Duterte, the team has no fight against its much taller opponents.

Speaking during an oath-taking of Filipino-Chinese businessmen on Tuesday, Duterte stated Gilas Pilipinas “will lose. We don’t have a chance.”

The president infamous for his tainted comments, added that his fellow countrymen should just support China. In the process, he also insulted the Italian basketball team, calling them “gago” or “idiots.”

“Let’s just bet on China. We will lose to Italy. Those idiots are big,” Duterte said.

The statement comes as the president delivered a speech in Malacañang, in front of a Filipino-Chinese community. The president has been vocal of his support for China and has repeatedly said the Philippines will not clash with Beijing as it cannot afford to go to war with the Asian powerhouse.

Despite his strong words against Gilas Pilipinas, the president will still be flying to China to watch the games and “support” the national athletes. He will be accompanied by Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan.

“The vice president of China himself will accompany me in the basketball game. It's a break in protocol. Why would I quarrel with them? Will the vice president of America escort me if I go there?” Duterte added.

The Philippines’ Gilas Pilipinas will start their bid to win the FIBA World Cup, and prove their president wrong, on Aug. 31 (Saturday) against Italy.