MANILA, Philippines – Gilas Pilipinas’ changing of the guard has begun.
Dwight Ramos and Thirdy Ravena have both been tasked to take up the leadership mantle for the national team as time winds down on the Philippines’ hosting of the FIBA World Cup next year.
After their performances in an 88-64 rout of India in the Asian Qualifiers on Friday, February 25, it was no surprise why they have been chosen.
Ramos delivered 17 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists, while Ravena chalked up 15 points as the Philippines tied New Zealand at the top of Group A with identical 2-0 cards.
But head coach Chot Reyes said it is more than just offense that the team expects from the two young stars.
“[W]hat we’re looking for with Dwight and Thirdy is not to lead the team in scoring but to lead the team. So we are really looking at them to be the leaders of this team,” Reyes said.
“The mantle of leadership, we’re slowly transferring that mantle of leadership from the Gilas players of the past to these two guys now.”
Despite their young age, Ramos and Ravena have both been key figures in the national team.
Then still with the Ateneo Blue Eagles, Ravena was part of the Gilas crew that qualified for 2019 World Cup as the only amateur player to crack a roster for the Asian Qualifiers.
Ramos, meanwhile, has been with the national team since 2020 and immediately turned into one of Gilas’ top players, leading the squad to an unbeaten run in the Asia Cup Qualifiers last year.
With ample experience under their belts, Ravena and Ramos are seen as the building blocks of Gilas’ future.
“This is a long-term program. We’re preparing for next year and beyond,” Reyes said.
“Dwight is , Thirdy is 25 so this is part of their maturation as leaders. That is what we’re looking at for from both of them.” – Rappler.com