Kiefer Ravena is back in town and ready to represent the Gilas Pilipinas 5×5 men’s team against Jordan and Saudi Arabia in the latest round of 2023 FIBA World Cup qualifiers.
The Shiga Lakes standout is one of four players called up to don the national colors alongside the likes of his brother Thirdy, Dwight Ramos, and Bobby Ray Parks Jr.
“First day of practice namin ni Thirdy kahapon sa national team,” said the former Ateneo de Manila University standout. “I think si Dwight and si Ray are in their way. The team’s looking good and with the core players from the last window, malaking bagay na kaunti na lang yung kailangan namin i-adjust in terms of knowing how to play with each other.
“Yun naman naging problema last time. Sobrang bilis nangyari at wala namang time.”
In terms of his club career in Japan, Ravena’s team is in the midst of a slump.
Shiga is on a five-game losing streak in the B.League. The latest loss saw them fold to Shimane, 63-87, in the Emperor’s Cup despite the former Ateneo Blue Eagle scoring 21 points.
“Yung team naman is more than capable pf functioning on its own. The players, nandun naman yung mga pieces. Kai [Sotto] will be there and the majority of the players from the last window,” said Ravena.
“Kung ano lang madadagdag. In terms of individual confidence naman, hindi man sa production, sa bench siguro or anything na makakatulong ako sa energy, sa attitude.”
With 10 months to go before the big dance, Gilas needs all the momentum before it competes against the best nations on home soil.
The pressure has been on for some time now and Kiefer and the rest of the players will give everything to kickstart and maintain an upward curve.
What better way to do it than facing Jordan, which is ranked 35 in the world.
“Lahat kami manggagaling sa break eh. Yung mga PBA boys pati yung mga B.League boys, lahat kami we’re sacrificing our time also, which is something we look forward to pagdating ng FIBA windows,” said the former NLEX Road Warrior. “We have to come in very confident just like any other window. We were reminded that Jordan hasn’t qualified for the World Cup yet. They’ll be coming out swinging talaga.
“They have to win games in order to qualify. Alam namin yun. Ready kami dun mentally and we have to be ready physically as well.”