MANILA, Philippines – Kiefer Ravena was one of the notable Gilas Pilipinas standouts who saw action in the FIBA World Cup but were left out of the player pool for the upcoming Southeast Asian Games.
Although he will miss out on a chance to clinch an unprecedented fifth straight SEA Games gold medal, Ravena said he is not one to doubt the decisions made by new national team head coach Tim Cone.
"I'm a great admirer of coach Tim. For different people to think twice or question the lineup, it's like questioning the greatness of coach Tim," Ravena said in a mix of Filipino and English on Friday, September 27.
"He's put there for a reason and that reason is his capability of handling any team."
With the SEA Games just around the corner, Cone opted to build the team on the core of his Barangay Ginebra players LA Tenorio, Scottie Thompson, Japeth Aguilar, Greg Slaughter, Stanley Pringle, and Art dela Cruz. (READ: Ginebra core banners Gilas 2019 SEA Games pool)
National team mainstays June Mar Fajardo, Roger Pogoy, Troy Rosario, Jayson Castro, Marcio Lassiter, Christian Standhardinger, and Matthew Wright were also included.
Rounding out the pool are Alaska's Vic Manuel and San Miguel's Chris Ross.
"You can see the lineup, we can't even beat them in the PBA, and then you put them all together. We're excited to support the team," Ravena added.
For now, Ravena has his full attention turned on the ongoing PBA Governors' Cup – his first conference since being slapped an 18-month ban by FIBA last year.
And the 25-year-old has been making up for lost time, leading NLEX to 105-99 win over Meralco on Friday for a 2-0 start as he averages of 17.5 points, 8.5 rebounds, 7.5 assists, and 2.0 steals.
"Regret? None. That's the national team. We can still support in any way we can. Now we can really focus on the PBA," said Ravena. – Rappler.com
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.