MANILA, Philippines – Following a splendid 2017 that saw him lead Ateneo de Manila University to the UAAP Season 80 men's basketball championship, Thirdy Ravena started 2018 on a bright note.
The Ateneo forward was included in Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes' "23 for 23," the initial pool of players who may represent the Philippines in the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup.
He was one of several rising stars to make the list, which also included San Beda College's Robert Bolick, Lyceum of the Philippines University's CJ Perez, and teammates Isaac Go and Matt Nieto.
For his older brother, Kiefer Ravena, Thirdy richly deserved his inclusion to the "23 for 23" list.
"I'm very happy for him," said Kiefer on Sunday after NLEX's game against Phoenix in the PBA Philippine Cup. "It's a long way to go, and a lot of things can happen, but just seeing his name there and those young guys that will be representing our country come 2023… it's a sigh of relief that you have those names."
"Kahit nga 'yung mga wala pa, alam pa natin kung ano ie-expect natin. I'm proud of him. It's something that he really earned, that's why I'm extremely proud," he added.
Kiefer's name was conspicuously absent from Reyes' list, and with good reason. The current PBA rookie will be 30 years old by the time the 2023 FIBA World Cup rolls around.
However, he remains hopeful that he can still join his younger brother in the national team.
"Oh yeah, of course," said Kiefer, who teamed up with Thirdy for a year in Ateneo back in UAAP Season 77. "If the body is willing, why not?"
For now, Kiefer will be reporting back to Gilas Pilipinas as the national team opens its preparation for the second window of the FIBA World Cup qualifiers.
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