MANILA, Philippines – Gilas Pilipinas remains the top priority for Thirdy Ravena.
The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) made that assurance following the news that the athletic guard from Ateneo will take his talents to Japan after joining the San-En NeoPhoenix of the B.League.
According to the NeoPhoenix, Ravena is the first player to sign under the "Asian Player Quotas" system of the league.
"Thirdy has always expressed his willingness to play for the Philippines and he reiterated his commitment in playing for Gilas Pilipinas in a short conversation we had earlier," SBP president Al Panlilio said in a statement.
Panlilio said playing in Japan will not only benefit Ravena but the national team as well, especially since the three-time UAAP Finals MVP is seen as one of Gilas Pilipinas' cornerstones in the future.
Ravena proved his mettle for the national team when he powered the Philippines to a 30-point road win over Indonesia in the first window of the FIBA Asia Cup 2021 Qualifiers last February.
"Playing in Japan is a great opportunity for Thirdy to expand his horizons and to learn more basketball at an international level," Panlilio said.
"This is his chance to grow as a basketball player and everything that he learns in Japan will be beneficial for Gilas as well. We are confident he will represent the Philippines well with his talent and sportsmanship."
One thing Panlilio hopes is that the NeoPhoenix allows Ravena to play for the national team whenever his number gets called.
"He assured us that playing for Gilas is a top priority for him and we're hopeful that the San-en NeoPhoenix will make him available for the FIBA windows." – Rappler.com
Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.