THIRDY Ravena and Matt Nieto were quick to make their presence felt in their debut with Gilas Pilipinas in the Filoil Flying V Premier Cup which resulted to a 97-78 victory over Mapua on Monday in San Juan.
Nieto finished with nine points while Ravena added eight. More importantly, they had no trouble easing into the system of coach Jong Uichico and played huge roles as they fended off a Cardinals fightback in the third period.
“Medyo same system with (Ateneo) coach Tab (Baldwin), may kaunting differences pero hindi ganun kalaki. Mahirap in a sense na medyo ‘di pa kami bonded, pero it’s a long way to go and I’m confident na magje-jell pa kami,” said Nieto.
Ravena had reservations with his performance, but was happy with how they were able to show fight after being pushed to the limit by the Cardinals.
“It was my first game with the team, I’m not sure if it is a good game or bad game, but what I can say is, it is a well-fought game for us,” said Ravena.
It was the first time that the Ateneo pair donned the Gilas jersey in the annual summer cagefest after focusing on academics and their training camp with the Blue Eagles.
Now that they’re finally up and running with the cadets, they vow to do everything to make an impact in the team.
“Well, I think the most important thing is to follow instructions from coach Jong. You can’t take matters in your own hands. You just have to trust one another,” said Ravena.
Nieto, one of the best guards in the UAAP, is just thankful for the opportunity given to him to orchestrate the national team’s offense.
“We’re just repaying the trust that coach Jong gave us. We’re just doing specific roles, leading the team, running the play and handling the pressure.”