THIRDY Ravena has vowed to live up to Tab Baldwin’s expectations after being picked for the 16-man Gilas Pilipinas cadet pool for two regional international competitions in Singapore amid criticism from some fans over his selection.
Ravena's inclusion in the star-studded pool has become a subject of criticism from fans who feel other players like Mike Tolomia of Far Eastern University and Roi Sumang of University of the East are more deserving of spots than the Ateneo Blue Eagles rookie.
After an impressive high school career that saw him win MVP honors in the UAAP in 2013, Ravena only averaged 1.4 points and 1.6 rebounds in 11 games during his rookie year with the Blue Eagles in Season 77.
The 18-year-old younger brother of Ateneo star Kiefer Ravena said he, too, was surprised by his selection, adding he simply put his best foot forward in the hope of making a good impression during the by-invitation tryouts held earlier this month at the Philsports Arena.
“Pare-parehas tayong nagulat,” Ravena told Spin.ph. “Pumunta ako doon not knowing if I’m going to make it or not. Pumunta lang ako doon para ibigay ang kaya ko.
“Siguro nahanap sa akin ng coach ‘yung gusto niya. Baka siguro maganda rin ‘yung pinakita ko nung tryout. Suwerte din,” added Ravena, who played for the Philippine team in the 2013 Fiba 3x3 Under-18 World Championship.
Ravena understands that there might be other players during the tryouts that are more talented than him. But he said putting together a national team isn’t always about getting the best players available.
“Sa national team naman, it’s not about getting the best players. It’s getting the right ones. Siguro sa positioning, nakahanap ako ng puwesto,” said the athletic and wiry Ravena.
Aside from Thirdy and brother Kiefer, also named to the pool were Bobby Ray Parks, Jeron Teng, Norbert Torres, Kevin Ferrer, Baser Amer, Mark Belo, Troy Rosario, Arnold Van Opstal, Scottie Thompson, Prince Rivero, Glenn Khobuntin, Jiovanni Jalalon, and Almond Vosotros.
Now that he is part of the 16-man pool for the Southeast Asian Basketball Association (Seaba) championship next month and the Southeast Asian Games, Ravena vowed to make his mark especially on the defensive end if he makes the final lineup.
“Siguro ‘yung athleticism ko,” said Ravena, when asked what he can contribute to the team. “Known ‘yung Philippine team sa run-and-gun. Tatakbo lang ako sa depensa and try to give the little things.”