Panlilio says Ravena remains in Gilas Pilipinas program

Thirdy Ravena

Thirdy Ravena remains part of the Gilas Pilipinas program despite his decision to play as a professional in a Japanese league, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) said on Thursday.

“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.

“He assured us that playing for Gilas is a top priority for him and we’re hopeful that San-En NeoPhoenix will make him available for the Fiba windows,” he added.

On Wednesday, Japan’s B.League announced that NeoPhoenix signed Ravena as its first Asian import under its new competition system for the 2020-2021 season.

In an interview with the CNN Philippines, Ravena felt gracious for the opportunity. However, his departure from the country and his family makes him anxious.

“A lot of mixed emotions. Happy and sad at the same time,” Ravena said. “I can’t help but feel sad that I have to leave my family and friends.”

Ravena was at the forefront of the Ateneo Blue Eagles’ three consecutive title run in UAAP men’s basketball. He was also named the Finals Most Valuable Player in each of those occasions.

Panlilio believes the decision would boost the talent of Ravena, who abandoned a chance of possibility being picked high in the Philippine Basketball Association Rookie Draft this year.

“Playing in Japan is a great opportunity for Thirdy to expand his horizons and to learn more basketball at an international level,” the SBP chief said. “We are confident that he will represent the Philippines well with his talent and sportsmanship.”

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