MANILA, Philippines – Thirdy Ravena ended up as one of the few bright spots in Gilas Pilipinas’ 63-88 loss to the visiting New Zealand in the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers on Sunday, February 27.
Taking up the scoring cudgels anew, the Japan B. League star scattered a game-high 23 points to go with 5 rebounds, 5 assists, and 5 steals in a brilliant all-around performance.
But those impressive numbers hardly mattered for Ravena.
“It’s hard to be happy right now at this moment because we lost. It doesn’t mean anything if you score 40 points and lose the game,” Ravena said in a mix of Filipino and English.
“I feel like we could’ve beat this team but that’s the frustrating part about it.”
Ravena pulled the the Filipinos within 7 points in the third quarter off a stepback triple, 33-40, but the Kiwis broke away behind a 25-10 run.
New Zealand then stretched its lead to as big as 26 in the final period as it wrapped up the game with 16 second chance and 14 fast break points – departments Ravena felt Gilas should have focused on.
“Those could’ve been prevented if we had probably communicated a little bit more or gave a little bit more effort,” Ravena said. “But nevertheless, it’s a lesson for all us.”
Ravena was also hard on himself as he sank just 3 of his 10 foul shots, with the Nationals making only 10 of their total 23 free throw attempts for a lowly 43% clip.
“Very proud of how we fought given the very short amount of time that we were able to prepare for this window. Could’ve been better with a couple of made free throws,” Ravena said.
Looking back, though, Ravena still expressed his appreciation for the chance to don the national colors again and to play before a live audience at home.
It had been two years since the last time Ravena saw action for Gilas in a FIBA competition when he starred in a 30-point demolition of Indonesia in the Asia Cup Qualifiers in February 2020.
“It’s always a blessing to be able to have this opportunity to represent our country and to fight against great teams.” – Rappler.com