Kiefer Ravena has plenty of confidence in Gilas Pilipinas’ chances in the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers’ third window, strongly believing that his team — made up of PBA vets and Cadets — was ready for the cage wars.
That, until unfortunate events occurred.
The third window was originally set to take place from Feb. 18-23 at the Clark Freeport Zone in Pampanga. FIBA later called it off due to the country’s travel restrictions last January. The hosting rights then went to Doha, Qatar.
Several weeks ago, however, the Ministry of Public Health in Qatar ordered the cancellation of all events taking place there due to the increasing rates of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in the country.
It was then believed that the meet might get cancelled but shortly after Qatar’s decision, FIBA Asia said that the games will be held again in Clark following the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas’ re-bid to play as hosts.
The SBP offered to assume hosting chores again as travel restrictions have eased in the country. However, there remains a cloud of uncertainty over the third window, as there is no new schedule yet.
Ravena couldn’t help lamenting what happened.
“Sayang ‘yung pagod tsaka ‘yung pawis, tsaka ‘yung eagerness na maipakita mo na alam namin na ready na ready na talaga kami eh. ‘Yun po ‘yung parang pinaka-panghihinayang,” he told Power & Play by Noli Eala Saturday.
While all those took place, Ravena and Co. were actually in the midst of their preparations for the tournament. The team was training inside the Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna — otherwise known as the ‘Calambubble.’
And all those practices and moments he’d shared with his fellow flagbearers made the Gilas captain excited about how his crew would fare in the window, where they will battle long-time rivals South Korea and Indonesia.
Ravena admitted that he and the team have extra motivation for facing the Koreans. But all of that will have to wait, since there are no dates yet for the third window.
“Alam kong may ibubuga eh. Alam kong may ipapakita talaga ‘yung team,” he said.
“Excited sana ako para sa ating lahat, na magpakita. Kasi siyempre, South Korea po ‘yung makakalaban, hindi naman biro ‘yun.
“Siyempre, lahat kami… Ang naririnig lang namin is bata ‘yung pinadala. Siyempre baka maano sa Korea ng experience, gusto namin i-prove ‘yun otherwise. Kaya dun kami naghihinayang talaga,” he added.
But then, Ravena and Gilas understand that this has been a challenging period. All they can do now is simply wait for the newest developments concerning the third window from no less than FIBA.