ATENEO star Kiefer Ravena said he is honored to be invited to join the Gilas cadet team and is looking forward to the chance to learn from national coach Chot Reyes.
Ravena said he was proud to be personally asked by the many-time PBA Coach of the Year to join his team during the relief operations of Tulong Kapatid, the disaster-response partnership platform of the MVP Group of Companies held two weeks ago in Metro Manila in the aftermath of Typhoon 'Maring.'
While no date has been set, Ravena said the first cadet national team practice could be called immediately after the UAAP men’s basketball tournament.
“Wala pa pong invitation talaga though nung huling nagkita kami ni coach Chot sa relief operations ng MVP Group, sasabihan daw kami pag-nag practice na for the SEA (Southeast Asian) Games,” Ravena told Spin.ph on Tuesday.
Ravena said he watched the Gilas Pilipinas team intently during the recent Fiba-Asia men's championships and he is looking forward to learning from Reyes once practice begins.
"Si coach Chot, sobrang daming games na ang na-coach niya at marami na ring mga magagaling na players ang nanggaling sa kanya. He knows how to talk to players and handle that star-studded lineup. So ako lang, I'm excited to learn from him (Reyes)," added the UAAP Season 74 Rookie of the Year.
The 6-foot-1 Ravena, son of former PBA player Bong Ravena, said he won’t hesitate to play and give honor to the country once again, especially as he will be playing alongside some of his collegiate friends and peers in the team.
“It is a great honor for me to play for the country again and be invited to play for the Gilas Cadet. Kami lang ata ni Ray-ray (Parks) sa mga na-invite ang may SEA Games experience,” he added.
The high-leaping Ateneo Blue Eagle has been a regular in national teams since his high school days, having played for the RP Youth Under-16 Energen team in 2009 as well as the Under-18 Youth squad in 2010.
He was also a member of the national squad that brought home the Southeast Asian Games gold medal in the 2011 meet held in Jakarta, Indonesia.
That team, known as the RP Sinag squad, was mentored by Norman Black and was led by seven-foot center Greg Slaughter, Parks and current PBA rookie Fil-Ams Chris Ellis and Cliff Hodge. It beat Thailand, 85-57, in the gold medal match.
On Sunday, Reyes said over his Twitter account @coachot that he plans to invite Ravena, Letran big man Almazan, Ateneo’s Chris Newsome, Far Eastern University guard Terrence Romeo, National University’s Ray Parks, La Salle big man Arnold Van Opstal and University of Santo Tomas’ Kevin Ferrer to join the cadet pool.
(For full story, see Ravena, Romeo, Parks, Almazan lead new batch of Gilas cadet invitees)