KIEFER Ravena will be looking to distinguish himself as the Filipino player with the most number of Southeast Asian Games basketball gold medals when Gilas Pilipinas heads to Kuala Lumpur in August.
Named to the Gilas lineup to the regional showpiece on Tuesday night, the former Ateneo star will be gunning for a fourth gold medal that would bring him past former San Sebastian star Rommel Adducul.
Adducul won his gold medals in 1997, 1999, 2001 while Ravena got his in 2011, 2013 and 2015.
"Well, very honored siyempre. Yun nga, fourth na, I have the chance to get my fourth gold medal and be the only one to do it, so I guess hopefully I get to repay the trust that Coach Chot has given me," said Ravena after the Gilas training session at the Meralco Gym.
Although still an amateur, the two-time UAAP MVP will be looked upon as one of the leaders of this young team which also feature the likes of Kobe Paras and fellow SEA Games returnees Rayray Parks, Troy Rosario, Kevin Ferrer and Baser Amer.
"It's a very, very young team. It's Kevin, Ray, and I who have the most experience in the SEA Games ... so I guess it's very important to share that knowledge," Ravena added.
Of all people, it's Ravena who knows that this isn't a walk in the park for the defending champions, recalling how they were pushed to the limit by a gritty Thailand squad in the 2015 edition of the tournament.
Ravena, however, assured that while the level of basketball in the region is rising, the Philippines isn't slacking off.
"Tulad ng sinasabi nila na sure-ball yan, it won't, di ba," said Ravena. "(Two years ago), almost, but again, you know, kung nagi-improve yung ibang countries, nagi-improve din naman kami, so 'yun ang importante."