By JONAS TERRADO
Kiefer Ravena said the now-postponed third window of the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers would have been a great opportunity for Gilas Pilipinas to prove themselves, especially against bitter rival South Korea.
Gilas was entering the final phase of its training bubble at the Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna when Doha, Qatar opted out of hosting the final phase of the continental qualifiers due to a spike of COVID-19 cases.
The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas, which earlier cancelled plans to host the window in Clark, eventually stepped in to accept the hosting rights for two Group A games against South Korea and one opposite Indonesia.
No date has been set for the window, and that has put Gilas’ preparation at a standstill since the team is still in a wait-and-see approach as to when the games will be held.
“Sayang ‘yung pagod, pawis, saka ‘yung eagerness na maipakita na alam mong reading-ready na kami,” Ravena said in the Power and Play program of former PBA Commissioner Noli Eala last Saturday. “’Yun ‘yung pinaka-panghihinayang kasi alam kong may ibubuga, alam kong may ipapakita yung team,” he added.
Ravena acknowledged that many were skeptical with the Gilas roster for the now-delayed window since it would have had a mixture of young players from the amateur and six players from the PBA, including CJ Perez, RR Pogoy, Troy Rosario, Justin Chua, and Raul Soyud.
Gilas was supposed also have Kai Sotto, who is now dealing with the aftermath of the decision that eventually didn’t led to a senior national team debut and subsequently cost him a stint with the Ignite in the NBA G-League bubble in Florida.
And would have been a motivating factor for Ravena and the rest of Gilas. “Kaya excited sana ako sa aming lahat na maipakita ang laro namin, especially against South Korea, lalo na may mga narinig kami na bata mga papadala. Siyempre gusto namin na ma-prove yun otherwise kaya dun kami talaga nanghihinayang,” he said.