GILAS Pilipinas remains as Thirdy Ravena's top priority even as he is set to embark on a new chapter with San-En NeoPhoenix in the Japanese B.League.
"Thirdy has always expressed his willingness to play for the Philippines and he reiterated his commitment in playing for Gilas Pilipinas in a short conversation we had earlier," read the statement from Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) president Al Panlilio.
Ravena, 23, became the first Asian import signed in the Japanese league, with the Shizuoka Prefecture-based club announcing the news on Wednesday.
It's a breakthrough for Filipinos in the international stage, one which Panlilio sees will only benefit the national team in the long run.
"(Ravena) assured us that playing for Gilas is a top priority for him and we're hopeful that the San-En NeoPhoenix will make him available for the Fiba windows," it continued.
Ravena has been included in the Gilas pool, together with special Gilas draftees Isaac Go, Rey Suerte, Allyn Bulanadi, and brothers Matt and Mike Nieto, as well as late addition Jaydee Tungcab.
The former Ateneo star also suited up in the Philippines' 100-70 victory over Indonesia in the first window of the 2021 Fiba Asia Cup qualifiers.
To the SBP, Ravena's stint will only allow the three-time UAAP Finals MVP to extend his wings further and be a better player in time for the 2023 Fiba World Cup here.
"Playing in Japan is a great opportunity for Thirdy to expand his horizons and to learn more basketball at an international level. This is his chance to grow as a basketball player and everything he learns in Japan will be beneficial for Gilas as well. We are confident that he will represent the Philippines well with his talent and sportsmanship," said Panlilio.
"The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas is proud that a Filipino basketball player is the first ever Asian import to be signed in Japan's B.League. We congratulate Thirdy Ravena for this achievement and we are one with Filipino basketball fans in hoping he finds success there."
Here's the full statement: