Kiefer Ravena hopes that Gilas Pilipinas will be able to prepare ‘as soon as possible for the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Belgrade, Serbia.
The Philippines has been given the chance to vie for a slot in the Tokyo Olympics after being called up by FIBA Friday night to fill in for New Zealand, who backed out of the meet due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
“Whether kung sinuman ipapatawag, I think it’s better to start talaga as soon as possible,” the national team captain told Power & Play by Noli Eala the morning after basketball’s governing body made the announcement.
“We have to take this blessing as it is, an opportunity na hindi man tayo nakasali nung una pero naibigay pa rin sa atin.”
Ravena and Gilas have just broken training camp following the postponement of the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers’ third window, but he believes that it is definitely worth it to enter another bubble in gearing up for the OQT.
However, he knows, too, that it would take lots and lots of preparation for the June 29-July 4 tilt, given the competition that awaits the Filipino dribblers.
Gilas will be pooled with host Serbia and the Dominican Republic in Group A. The top two teams will meet in a crossover semis against the top two squads of Group B that’s made up of Puerto Rico, Italy, and Senegal.
“It’s going to be worth it.
“But we have to be real with how the other countries are playing. We’re grouped with Serbia and the Dominican Republic, and it’s really going to take a lot of preparation to win against those teams,” he said.
A plan of action has yet to be mapped out by the major stakeholders for the meet, although the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas has already said that it is set to coordinate with the PBA for their plans moving forward.
But for Ravena, regardless of how Gilas’ OQT campaign ends, he believes that this is a huge help in the program’s main goal: the 2023 FIBA World Cup.
“Whether we make it or not, at least alam natin lahat na pinaghandaan natin siya. I think it’s a good step forward moving into the bigger goal of hosting the 2023 World Cup. I think that’s the mindset that we should have.”