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    Baldwin backs Ravena call-up to PH pool: 'We'll see if he's ready or not'

    Jan 24, 2019
    PHOTO: Marlo Cueto

    THIRDY Ravena is set to join the Team Pilipinas practices on Thursday at Meralco Gym.

    The second-generation star no longer sees any hindrance for him to be part of Yeng Guiao's pool that is currently preparing for the crucial sixth window of the 2019 Fiba World Cup Asian qualifiers next month.

    "Most likely, okay na naman siya. I'm just gonna talk to (Gilas team manager) Butch Antonio and clarify everything, make sure everything's approved," he said.

    The Blue Eagles are fully behind Ravena in this endeavor, one which they believe can only be beneficial to both player and team in the long run.

    "Where there’s priority for the national team, it’s important that players can be available. We support that," said coach Tab Baldwin. "From a basketball standpoint, we support that. I’m happy for him.

    "At some point, that should be the goal of all players and at some point, they have to be ready to step up. We’ll see if he’s ready or not. There are some things he still has to work on, but for sure, there are aspects of his game that will translate to international basketball."

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      Ateneo team manager Epok Quimpo added: "We want them to be exposed as much as possible, especially with the national team. Learning curve yun eh. Mas gagaling sila doon. We somehow experienced it sa Jones Cup and it's always a privilege to play for the national team."

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      Quimpo added that Ravena needs only to clear up some of his academic schedule this second semester for him to finally get the green light to be part of Gilas.

      "I think he's just fixing his schedule," the amiable executive said. "The main concern is the academic calendar in the second sem. Once it's clear with the university, I see no problem with it."

      This early, Ravena is already excited to train with some of the best players in the country, especially with the Philippines needing to sweep its road games against Qatar and Kazakhstan to get a chance to punch a ticket to the World Cup.

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      "It's a great honor na ma-lineup sa national team," said the 22-year-old Ravena, who has previously worked out with TNT during the holiday break.

      "Hopefully, di na siya ganoong bago sa akin since three players are from TNT and mas may feel na ako kung paano sila maglaro. I need to step up and gawin ang mga sinabi sa akin ni coach Yeng at the best that I can."

      But more than anything, it's all about wearing the tri-color for the high-flyer.

      "It's always the best feeling to represent the country. Masarap maglaro para sa bayan. Lahat kakampi mo, lahat susuporta sa yo. It's always a great honor to play for Filipinos around the world," he said.

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      PHOTO: Marlo Cueto
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