BEING the youngest in the Gilas Pilipinas pool is not a hindrance for Kiever Ravena to fight for a spot in the national side that’s preparing for the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in July.
Initially volunteering last year just to make up the numbers as injuries mounted , the 22-year-old amateur star has gained confidence that he has a tangible chance to make it to the Final 12 with coach Tab Baldwin stressing to them that only Andray Blatche is assured of a spot.
“As coach made it clear, probably the only shoo-in is Andray,” Ravena said. “You have to take that as a motivation to fight for each other.”
“It's healthy competition because you help each other prepare for something really big for the country,” the three-time SEA Games gold medalist added. “Yun ang kailangan naming maintindihan lalo na't palapit na ng palapit yung tournament.”
Baldwin also included Ravena in a talk with playmakers Jayson Castro and Terrence about role definition after practice on Sunday.
Still, Ravena is facing tough competition with Castro, Romeo, and Paul Lee probably ahead of him in the pecking order in the point guard rotation.
Add combo guard Ray Parks, who’s coming off a productive stint in the NBA D-League, into the mix, then Ravena’s chances have become slimmer.
And Ravena is embracing the competition against Parks and the rest of the guards.
“Improvement-wise, I haven't played with Ray pa kasi we haven't done anything live sa practice, but I'm excited and I look forward to the challenge," the two-time UAAP MVP out of Ateneo standout said.
“Here, it's a competition,” he added. “We're fighting for a spot, for a role in the team. Yun ang kailangan naming gawin. Eventually, we'll play with each other.”