MANILA, Philippines – A grateful Thirdy Ravena deflected credit after his explosive performance for Gilas Pilipinas in their first game of the FIBA Asia Cup 2021 qualifiers against Indonesia on Sunday night.
Ravena was the breakout star for the Philippines, tallying a team-best 23 points in their 100-70 rout of Indonesia. He also had 8 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 blocks in an all-around performance at the BritAma Arena in Jakarta.
Yet the former King Eagle stressed that credit must also go to his older brother, Kiefer, and the PBA veterans in the squad for how they guided the team to victory. Thirdy was one of five amateurs in the squad, while Kiefer skippered the team in the first qualifying window.
"I'd like to give a shout out to the veterans, the PBA guys, kasi they let us play our game," said Thirdy in an interview with SBP-Cignal TV after the contest.
"They just let us play, and they were guiding us all throughout the game," he explained. "So malaking tulong 'yun, especially for young guys like us na maraming first time maka-experience ng game for Gilas."
Thirdy was the one amateur in the group who had experience playing for Gilas Pilipinas, having made his senior team debut last year during the FIBA World Cup Asian qualifiers. But for Matt Nieto, Isaac Go, Juan Gomez de Liano, and Dwight Ramos, it was their first time donning national team colors in the senior level.
Gomez de Liano put up 10 points, while Nieto had 6 assists in 15 minutes. Ramos had 5 points and 5 rebounds, and Go pulled down 7 boards to compensate for going scoreless.
The game was also special for Thirdy as it marked the first time he played together with Kiefer since the Ravena brothers suited up for the Ateneo Blue Eagles in 2014.
"It made me feel comfortable being in the team, especially with my brother as the captain. He just prepped me pretty good," Thirdy said.
"He was basically doing his part as a captain and making everyone else, not just me, feel comfortable around the team and to just do our jobs. Definitely feels good to play with him again after years of waiting," he added.
With Gilas now 1-0 in Group A of the qualifiers, Thirdy is looking forward to their upcoming games where he hopes to once again play with his older brother.
"I can't wait to learn from him and learn from Coach Mark (Dickel) and everyone else in the coaching staff," said Thirdy. "It's a great feeling to have him again as a teammate."
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