FIBA: Big loss to New Zealand will motivate Dwight Ramos moving forward

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 04 2022 04:58 PM

Dwight Ramos (24) shone for the Philippines in their win against India in the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News.
Dwight Ramos (24) shone for the Philippines in their win against India in the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News.

MANILA, Philippines -- A comfortable win against India did little to help Dwight Ramos forget their big loss against New Zealand in the FIBA World Cup Asian qualifiers last week.

Ramos was instrumental in the Philippines' 79-63 triumph against India at the Mall of Asia Arena on Sunday night, as he scored nine of his 21 points in the first quarter to set the tone for Gilas Pilipinas.

The Japan-based professional made half of his 18 shots in the game and added five rebounds, four steals, and two assists in 30 minutes as the Filipinos finished with a 2-2 record in Group A, while gaining momentum for their upcoming campaign in the FIBA Asia Cup.

"We're just out here trying to improve," said Ramos afterward.

As impressive as their win against India was, it did not make up for their 106-60 defeat against New Zealand last Thursday where Ramos was held to six points on 2-of-11 shooting. Indeed, the memory of that loss was one of the guard's primary motivations going into the game against India.

"We played against New Zealand, they beat us up pretty bad so we're just trying to get on their level and hopefully keep getting better," he said.

For Ramos, it's the kind of defeat that will stay with him and motivate him even as he progresses in his basketball career. The Tall Blacks were dominant against Gilas, as they held the young Filipinos to just 33.9% shooting from the field. Ramos was not the only one held in check: veteran point guard Kiefer Ravena made only three of his 10 attempts for six points.

University of the Philippines big man Carl Tamayo was one of the few bright spots for the team as he had 16 points on 5-of-10 shooting before exiting in the fourth quarter with an ankle sprain.

"New Zealand really dominated us," said Ramos. "Now, I can't forget it. That's always in my mind moving forward, when I'm working out, when I'm practicing with them. I remember that New Zealand game, and how tough it was for us."

Ramos won't have to wait long to play New Zealand again, as they are grouped with the Tall Blacks in pool play for the FIBA Asia Cup that starts on July 12. Also in Group D with them are India and Lebanon. 

"I'm super excited," Ramos said of the upcoming competition. "We have a short preparation time before we go over there, but it's going to be always in the back of my mind how they [New Zealand] beat us."

"Hopefully, that drives us in practice and in our personal workouts. We're trying to get better, try to play on their level," he added. "Hopefully, we can compete.""

"It takes time, and we have a short practice time before we leave. But as long as we keep improving, eventually, we'll get there."