MANILA, Philippines – Kiefer Ravena is being groomed to become a "world-class" guard after he was appointed captain of Gilas Pilipinas' 24-man pool.
Ravena will take the role of a leader of the hybrid pool that consists of PBA stars and a bevy of amateur standouts as they prepare for the first window of the FIBA Asia Cup 2021 Qualifiers this February.
"We wanted to give him the confidence to grow into being a world-class point guard," said national team interim coach Mark Dickel through a text message.
"This is the initial step in that process."
Despite being only 26, Ravena is battle-tested when it comes to playing in the international scene.
He has 5 Southeast Asian Games gold medals under his belt and had already seen action in the FIBA World Cup as part of the national team in 2019.
In the local stage, Ravena has emerged as one of the finest guards in the PBA.
He was a candidate for Best Player of the Conference in the Governors' Cup last season in just his first tournament since he returned from an 18-month ban.
"Kiefer is by nature a leader. He is vocal and because of the position he plays, it makes it an easy choice," said Dickel.
Gilas Pilipinas will kick off the qualifiers by hosting Thailand on February 20 before flying to Indonesia for a road game on February 23.
Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.