MANILA, Philippines -- Even before playing a single game in the UAAP, Dwight Ramos has already impressed on an international level with his play for Gilas Pilipinas.
Ramos, who is set to play for the Ateneo Blue Eagles, suited up for the Philippines in both the February and November windows of the FIBA Asia Cup 2021 qualifiers. He had a quiet debut against Indonesia earlier this year, with five points and five rebounds in a 100-70 win.
Nearly eight months later, he put together a showcase of his skills in the Philippines' first game against Thailand. Ramos made all seven of his field goals and all four free throws for a 20-point, seven-rebound, three-assist outing for Gilas in their 93-61 demolition of the Thais in Bahrain.
He finally missed a field goal in their next game but still finished with 13 points, five boards, and two assists in a 93-69 triumph for the young Filipinos.
His strong play caught the attention of Coach Jong Uichico, who called the shots for the national team in the November 2020 window.
"Honestly, hindi ko naman siya kilala. I mean, I know ni-recruit siya ng Ateneo, that's all I know about him, and 'yung mga highlight videos niya. 'Yun lang ang kilala ko," Uichico said during an appearance on "2OT."
"I didn't know how good he was," he admitted.
But Ramos opened plenty of eyes with his performance in the first game, including Uichico's. The 22-year-old swingman proved he could score both inside and outside, while also showing that he can make plays for his teammates. His seven rebounds were tied for most in the team along with Kobe Paras.
Afterward, Uichico hailed his all-around performance and versatility.
"That first game really surprised me," the coach said. "Yes, he does a little bit of all. Nakaka-score, depensa, ganda ng vision niya. So he gives you an all-around performance and he is tall if he plays the point guard, which is what we need in our team."
So impressive was Ramos that Uichico agreed he is ready for a level beyond the UAAP.
"I think he's PBA-ready, kasi magagamit at magagamit siya eh," the coach said of Ramos. "Kung sa Gilas nga, nagagamit siya, what more doon sa PBA where he will really be a factor."
Ramos transferred to Ateneo from Cal Poly Pomona and is eligible to play two seasons for the Blue Eagles, starting in Season 83.