With Parks out, Gilas needs Kiefer Ravena more than ever. Will he show up?
Kiefer Ravena is still in the US for personal training. Jerome Ascano

NATURALIZED player Andray Blatche is out. So is Rayray Parks.

How about Kiefer Ravena?

That should be the one question in the minds of fans as a new-look, all-amateur Gilas Pilipinas side crams in its preparation for the Fiba Asia Challenge Cup that takes place in Iran in three weeks' time.

The former UAAP MVP was named to the 24-man Gilas pool for the September 9-18 showpiece but has yet to return from the US where he is undergoing personal training, supposedly putting premium on his outside shooting.

Gilas manager Butch Antonio said the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) sounded off both Ravena and Parks when it named them to the pool, but admitted both are yet to commit to the Fiba Asia Challenge Cup campaign.

Parks, through his agent Charlie Dy, confirmed to SPIN.ph on Monday that he is set to leave for the US this week to attend workouts with NBA teams, ruling him out of Gilas' next campaign.

[See Parks out of Gilas team to Fiba Asia Challenge Cup]

Parks' absence makes Ravena all the more important for a Gilas team without a naturalized player, more so with the PBA players named to the pool also unlikely to be available due to a conflict in schedule.

Antonio said they are talking to the handlers of Ravena with regards to the Fiba Asia Challenge Cup campaign, but admitted there is no agreement yet - much less a time frame for his return from the US.

"The 24-man pool is a list where you can get your Final 12 (for the Fiba Asia Challenge Cup) so tayo, you don't want to miss on names just in case they're available," said Antonio.

"With Rayray and Kiefer naman, you'll always put them on your list, especially with this batch. They're part of the best in their class. And alam naman natin that if and when they're available, they won't turn their back on serving the country."

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But at the same time, Antonio added, "We know that they have other obligations, we respect their other pursuits." 

[See Is teenager Carino ready to make transition from Batang Gilas to senior team?]

Antonio admitted the only players committed to join the Fiba Asia Challenge Cup campaign are the ones showing up regularly for the Gilas practices supervised by Josh Reyes for the past few weeks.

The situation is much clearer with regards to Fil-Canadian Matthew Wright, who has signified his intention to play for Gilas and is currently in talks to join the team to the Iran showcase.

"Wright signified his intention to play, but let's see if he can come in time for the Challenge Cup," said Antonio. "We are talking to\ his handlers and agents."

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