Kiefer Ravena assures extended stay in country, full commitment to Gilas cause
Kiefer Ravena is now part of the Gilas pool ahead of the selection of members to the teams bound for the Fiba Asia Cup and the SEA Games. Dante Peralta

HIS commitment to play for Gilas Pilipinas meant Kiefer Ravena would be spending much of his time the next few months here in the country.

Set to suit up for the national team seeing action in the FIBA 3x3 World Cup in Nantes, France, the amateur star has likewise guaranteed to join the training pool of head coach Chot Reyes preparing for the coming Southeast Asian Games in Malaysia.

Ravena was among the 15 names called up by Reyes on his Twitter account@coachot on Friday to come on board once Gilas resumes practice on June 20.

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The 3x3 tournament is set June 17 to 21, while the SEA Games will be played from August 19-31.

“I had a talk with coach Chot of being committed while I’m here, and to make the most out of it,” said Ravena, who watched Game 3 of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup quarterfinal series between TnT Katropa and Meralco Friday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

“ I’m excited to be part of the (training) pool, finally.”

The former UAAP MVP has spent the past months in the US, where he underwent training prior to joining the Texas Legends in the NBA D-League as part of the training team.

That will now have to take a backseat as Ravena vies for a spot, either in the Gilas team bound for the Fiba Asia Cup in Lebanon or the cadet-laden squad competing in the SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur.

But while he’s set to join the Gilas pool to the SEA Games – and perhaps the Jones Cup – the 23-year-old combo guard said his focus at the moment is set on the 3x3 tournament, where he has for teammates Kobe Paras, Jeron Teng, and pro veteran JR Quinahan.

“I can’t think about the SEA Games without thinking of the 3x3 first, kasi doon ako pinaka-unang nag- commit fully,” he stressed. “Dito talaga ‘yung oras ko kasi meron kaming goal to exceed kung anuman yung finish (ng team) the last time.”

While he has saw action in the SEA Games a couple of times already, Ravena is still thrilled at the prospect of returning for another tour of duty in the biennial meet, where the Filipinos are the long-time defending champions.

But while he’s set to join the Gilas pool to the SEA Games – and perhaps the Jones Cup – the 23-year-old combo guard said his focus at the moment is set on the 3x3 tournament, where he has for teammates Kobe Paras, Jeron Teng, and pro veteran JR Quinahan.

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“Siyempre very motivated nandito na ito,” he added. “Matagal ko na rin iniisip o dream to have a record of most (gold) medals won. It’s a matter of representing your country.”

The two-time UAAP MVP from Ateneo remained mum whether he’ll already make himself available in this year’s draft. And while playing overseas, specifically cracking the NBA, remains among his priorities, the eldest playing son of former PBA player and now TnT Katropa deputy Bong Ravena admitted living on his own outside the country is a big challenge for him.

“Alam ninyo naman tayo, nangarap lang tayo dun sa States, wala tayong power to demand, wala tayong power to go wherever you want to go,” Ravena explained. “It’s all a matter of timing, and waiting, a lot of waiting. Sinubukan ko doon and na-figure out ko nga na mahirap talaga sa States.”

“Again, it’s a dream of mine that I really wanted to try.”

While here in the country, Ravena made known what is main concern.

“For now andito ako, ito yung opportunity ko, ito yung goal ko, na makapasok uli sa national team,” said Kiefer. “I’ll pursue that to represent the country again, lalo na SEA Games or kung anumang international tournament.”

Follow the writer on Twitter: @gerardmos