MANILA, Philippines – Kiefer Ravena and Gilas Pilipinas have set the bar high as they face Indonesia in the first window of the FIBA Asia Cup 2021 Qualifiers.
Ravena admitted he and the national team seek to pull off a dominant victory when they tangle with Indonesia – a country the Philippines has beaten by big margins – in a road game on Sunday, February 23.
"The most important thing for us is to play hard, play the best that we can," Ravena said on Thursday, February 20, in mix of Filipino and English. "Maybe if we play hard, we can beat them by 30, 40 points."
"It's not going to be easy, it's not going to be impossible as well."
Blowout victories by Gilas Pilipinas have been a recurring theme every time it plays Indonesia in the world stage.
In their last 6 meetings over the last 5 years in the Southeast Asian Games and the Southeast Asia Basketball Association Championship, the Philippines has won by a whopping average of 32.0 points.
Last December, the Philippines handed Indonesia a 27-point beating in the 2019 SEA Games even with an all-Filipino lineup.
This bunch of new Gilas Pilipinas will try to continue that lopsided streak.
"People think that we may be overconfident for having that type of goal but you want to set the standards high, especially for the young ones," said Ravena, who was named captain of the national team.
"Coach Tab (Baldwin) and coach Mark (Dickel) have always been saying that we want to build a culture here – a culture of playing hard and giving it our best. It may start by winning that way," he added.
Ravena said an overwhelming triumph might help set the tone for their young team, a 12-man roster that includes 5 amateur players.
"To some of us, it's their first time playing in FIBA windows so coming up with a victory against Indonesia in a dominating fashion, hopefully it can be a good start for the program," he said.
Ravena, though, clarified a win is a win no matter what the score.
"We all know it's just a game, whether you win 1 point or 40 points. It's the same, you have one win as a team."
Gilas Pilipinas will have one more practice at home before flying to Indonesia on Friday, February 21.
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.