Dwight Ramos has been the most consistent player for Gilas Pilipinas for the entire 2021 FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers.
The 6-foot-4 utility player has been the national team’s Swiss army knife in Gilas’ last three games. He normed 12.7 points, 5.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 1.7 steals per game. And this included a 7-of-7 game against Thailand.
But with Matt Nieto going down with a broken left hand, Gilas program director Tab Baldwin is challenging the 22-year-old to be more than just a player.
He wants Ramos to be a leader.
“With Dwight Ramos, it’s still a wish for us. He still has a personality that isn’t vocally oriented and it’s got to change. It’s a drum we’ve been beating. He’s changing slowly, so it is what it is,” Baldwin said.
“He knows that’s his job.”
Ramos, who grew up in West Covina, California, is a man of few words. Yes, he is a soft-spoken fellow.
And he knows it. That is why over the past few weeks inside the Inspire Sports Academy, Ramos has been making sure that he talks to his teammates a lot both on and off the court.
“Coach Tab has been challenging me to be more of a leader, be more vocal. That’s something that I have been trying to work on. I’m not the loudest person but I’m trying,” said Ramos, who transferred from Cal Poly Pomona to Ateneo two years ago, during an episode of Hoops Life.
“As time goes on, hopefully, I become more of a vocal guy for those young players, because I might have a little more experience than them internationally.”
Besides working on things himself, he also has a mentor who knows a thing or two about being the captain of Gilas Pilipinas.
It’s none other than Kiefer Ravena.
“I’m pretty close to Kiefer. If I have any questions, I just go to Kiefer. Kiefer was named our captain that one time,” recalled Ramo. He and Ravena were teammates during the first window of the tournament back in February of 2020.
“If ever I need any help, that’s the person I would go to.”
Ramos and the rest of Gilas are in for a tough grind in the next few weeks.
From June 16 to 20, they will take on South Korea twice and Indonesia in the Clark window. Then later in the month, they head to the Belgrade Olympic Qualifying Tournament to face Serbia and the Dominican Republic.
Even with high expectations on him due to the first three games he has been with Gilas, Ramos is hoping that that is not his peak yet.
“I’m hoping that I’m just scratching the surface, but I can’t talk about what lies ahead. I’m hoping that I can continue playing well and keep on improving. I hope that this is just the beginning.”