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Ravena available for Gilas if needed
MANILA (FIBA Asia Cup 2017) - The current Gilas Pilipinas national pool is chock-full of talent and star power, but one of the players whom many Filipino basketball fans wish to see finally debut on the FIBA Asia stage is none other than the young man nicknamed "The Phenom" - Kiefer Isaac Ravena.
Donning an actual Gilas Pilipinas jersey and playing for the Philippines in this year's FIBA Asia Cup would be a tremendous feather in Ravena's cap, especially considering his decorated status as one of the most celebrated players to recently come out of the Philippine collegiate scene.
Ravena has played extensively at the youth level and Southeast Asian level, being a part of the Philippine U16 (2009) and U18 (2010) teams as well as the national squads that played in the last three Southeast Asian Games and in the SEABA Championship 2015, but despite already being 23 years old, he has not seen action at the senior continental level yet.
That may change in several months if Gilas opens a spot for the 1.81m guard.
"Of course, if there's an opportunity and if the national team needs me or gets me, I can play." - Kiefer Ravena
For someone like Ravena, whose father and brother have also represented the country in the past, strapping on a Gilas kit is a badge of honor. He was unable to make the cut for Gilas in the FIBA OQT 2016, and so he opened up about what he misses most when playing for the national side.
"I miss just wearing the jersey and representing the country," he said. "It's an honor no matter how big or small the tournament is."
When he was not chosen to be among the 12 Gilas players in the OQT, Kiefer proceeded to go to the United States, where he chased his dream of making it to the NBA. Most recently, he became part of the Texas Legends of the NBA D-League. That NBA door has yet to open for Kiefer, but he remains hopeful. He is also happy about how he has grown and learned from his experience in the States.
"Just being able to play at a high level of competition day in and day out helped me a lot in improving my all around game," he explained.
Whether or not he eventually becomes part of Gilas this year, though, Kiefer is upbeat about the chances of the Philippines as well as the New Competition System.
"It's gonna be interesting, and it will definitely test the players a lot since there are new factors that will come into play," he said. "But overall, I am excited and looking forward to it."
"The Phenom" will certainly make his mark on the FIBA Asia platform when his time comes, and if everything falls into place, Filipino hoop nuts may actually see it happen right in front of their own eyes this year.