After SEA Games disappointment, Thirdy Ravena more motivated than ever for Gilas

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 30 2022 12:05 PM

Thirdy Ravena is among those tipped to play for Gilas Pilipinas in the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers and the FIBA Asia Cup 2022. File photo.
Thirdy Ravena is among those tipped to play for Gilas Pilipinas in the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers and the FIBA Asia Cup 2022. File photo.

MANILA, Philippines -- Thirdy Ravena is looking forward to future games with Gilas Pilipinas after a disappointing finish to his first Southeast Asian Games stint with the national team.

Ravena and the Philippine men's basketball team couldn't defend their gold medal in the 31st SEA Games in Hanoi, as an 85-81 loss to Indonesia in their last match ended the country's dominance in the event.

It was the first time since 1989 that the Philippines failed to win gold in the biennial competition, ending a run of 13 consecutive titles.

"For me, it's on to the next. There's not much we can do about it, although we all wish na mas maganda 'yung nilaro namin for that game, and hopefully we could have pulled off a gold medal," Ravena told ABS-CBN News.

"It's done now. The challenge is done, and now there's a different challenge ahead of us," added the forward, who had 17 points in the defeat.

Indeed, Ravena doesn't have long to wait before his next appearance for Gilas. He is expected to be among the players called up by Coach Chot Reyes for the FIBA World Cup Asian q1ualifiers and the FIBA Asia Cup 2022 in July.

Calling the opportunity a blessing, Ravena said he is deeply motivated to help Gilas be successful in those events, especially in the wake of their SEA Games disappointment.

"Motivated, especially with what we just went through. Hopefully mas maganda ipakita natin, and hopefully mas makapag-prepare for the upcoming window," he said

The World Cup qualifiers will be held in Auckland, with Gilas scheduled to play India on July 1 and host nation New Zealand on July 3.

After that, it will be the FIBA Asia Cup in Jakarta, Indonesia on July 12 to 24.

In both tournaments, Ravena will find himself in the relatively unfamiliar role as one of the leaders of the national team.

Because the PBA season will be in full swing by July, Reyes said he will call up mostly collegiate players to the national team pool, with the likes of Carl Tamayo of the University of the Philippines and Dave Ildefonso of Ateneo de Manila University among those expected to be selected.

Reyes will tap Ravena and another Japan-based professional, Dwight Ramos, to spearhead the squad. Ravena's older brother, Kiefer, may also be available for selection.

"Well, [it] definitely feels different, not being the youngest anymore. Parang ang bilis ng panahon," said Ravena, who made his senior team debut for Gilas in the qualifiers for the FIBA World Cup 2019.

At the time, he was still playing collegiate basketball for the Ateneo Blue Eagles when he was called up by then-Gilas coach Yeng Guiao.

"Naalala ko noong ako 'yung pinaka bata sa Gilas, tapos ngayon ako na isa sa pinaka-matanda. Parang napabilis ata," he said.

Still, it's a challenge that Ravena welcomes and he is looking forward to seeing what the up-and-coming stars of Philippine basketball can offer.

"More than excited to see all of them young guys playing. Playing alongside the young guys," he said.

"I don't know who the coach is gonna be, but we'll for sure make it work. Gagawin ko lahat ng makakaya ko, and I know that with my brother, Dwight, we just have that experience na pwede namin mabigay sa kanila, and hopefully that will help them in their careers," he added. "And hopefully help us also, in the upcoming windows."