WHILE he felt proud being mentioned among the probable players suiting up for Gilas Pilipinas when the country hosts the FIBA World Cup six years from now, Kiefer Ravena believes a lot of things can still happen between now and 2023.
“Tingnan natin. Marami pang puwedeng mangyari,” said the NLEX rookie guard on Sunday when asked about the prospect during the opening of the 43rd PBA season at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“But I’m very honored to be mentioned in that group,” he added. “Actually, I don’t know what I would feel, knowing that I’m one of the oldest.”
Ravena will be 30 and presumably at the peak of his playing career by the time the world basketball championship returns to the country for the first time since 1978.
He was among those mentioned by longtime basketball patron Manny V. Pangilinan as possible players who will don the Gilas jersey along with his brother Thirdy Ravena, Roger Pogoy and Richie Rivero.
Ravena, 24, was the only PBA rookie who cracked the Gilas roster in the FIBA World Cup qualifiers.
But more than himself, Kiefer stressed it’s imperative to instill in the young cagers the pride and honor of playing for flag and country.
“Ang importante doon sa mga bata tulad nila Thirdy, Kai Sotto, ma-prepare talaga sila. Its 2017 now and we have six years to think about the possibility of representing the country to play against the world,” he said.
“We have to instill in them that honor is not really given to anybody else. Ma-cherish nila yung moment na matawag sila sa Gilas to represent (the country) sa FIBA World Cup.”
More so of playing before basketball-loving Filipinos.
“That’s something you can never explain, just the pride and passion of us Filipinos. That’s why we won it (bid), kasi alam ng mga tao na talagang ibang klase pagdating sa basketball ang mga Pinoy,” he added.
Ravena later praised Pangilinan, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) chairman emeritus, who moved heaven and earth to bring the so-called Olympics of basketball to the Philippines after a failed shot at the 2019 hosting.
“We’re just blessed to have MVP as our backer,” he said. “He really dedicated himself to winning the bid for us. In history, it’s meant to be na makuha natin yung World Cup mismo.”