FIBA: Thirdy Ravena rues free throw woes, vows to learn from loss to New Zealand

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 28 2022 07:33 PM

Thirdy Ravena in action for Gilas against New Zealand. 
Thirdy Ravena in action for Gilas against New Zealand. 

MANILA, Philippines -- Thirdy Ravena was reluctant to accept any praise after leading Gilas Pilipinas in scoring in the February window of the FIBA World Cup Asian qualifiers, focusing instead on the work that needs to be done by himself and the team.

Ravena, 25, averaged 19.0 points on 47% shooting in Gilas Pilipinas' games against India and New Zealand, along with 3.5 assists, 3 rebounds, and 3 steals per game. The Philippines split the two games, beating India, 88-64, before absorbing an 88-63 defeat to New Zealand.

"We really fought and gave it our all," Ravena said after scoring 23 points against the Tall Blacks on Sunday night. 

New Zealand pulled away from Gilas in the second half, with the Philippines unable to maximize fastbreak opportunities while also squandering their chances at the free throw line. Gilas made just 10 of 23 charities, with Ravena going 7-of-12 at the stripe.

Ravena was also not satisfied with their defense, as New Zealand shot 46% from the field and had 14 points on the break. The Tall Blacks also dominated the boards, 54-34.

"They had around 16 second chance points and 14 fastbreak points, and those could have been prevented if we had probably communicated a little bit more or gave a little bit more effort," said Ravena.

"Nevertheless, it's a learning lesson for us. Very proud of how we fought, given the very short amount of time that we were able to prepare for this window," he added.

"And, also could have been better (with) a couple of more made free throws."

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Ravena struggled to explain their free throw shooting woes: they had gone 17-of-21 at the line against India but couldn't take advantage of the easy points against the higher-ranked New Zealand squad.

"I guess it's just one of those days. Personally, you know, I still need to work on my free throws a lot more," said Ravena, who shoots 65% from the line in Japan's B.League for the San-En NeoPhoenix.

"Free throws can cost a game. It might not be as seen in this particular game, but it can definitely cost in the future, or you know. It's one point, and one point can make a whole lot, a big difference in a basketball game," he added.

"Definitely, to work on the free throws, especially we were able to get a lot of opportunities to get on the line. So we don't waste those opportunities, and we make the most out of every single one. So, lesson for me, gotta make some free throws, and I gotta work on it a whole lot more."

Ravena averaged 19.0 points per game in the February window of the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.
Ravena averaged 19.0 points per game in the February window of the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.

Even with his free throw shooting woes, Ravena drew plenty of praise for his performance against New Zealand and in the window as a whole. Charles Tiu, head coach of De La Salle-College of St. Benilde, noted that he had been the Philippines' best player.

But Ravena, after the loss to the Tall Blacks, said that it was "hard to happy" due to the result of the game.

"It doesn't mean anything if you score 40 points and lose the game. I feel like we could have done, we could have beat this team, but you know, that's the frustrating part about it," he admitted.

"We were able to fight, pero 'yun nga, nakakapanghinayang lang at the end of the day," he added.

Ravena, who has previously played for Gilas in the 2019 FIBA World Cup qualifiers, said they will walk away with plenty of lessons from this window.

"It's always a lesson, it's always a blessing to be able to have this opportunity to represent the country, to fight against great teams," he said.

"Tonight, we fought, very proud of that, so everything's a lesson, especially after the game when we watch the replay, and see all our mistakes. It's definitely gonna be a learning lesson for all of us."


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