The Philippine Basketball Association has a tough stance on prospects not wanting to enter its annual draft. Either a player enters the draft within two years of exhausting their college eligibility, or they get banned.
Thirdy Ravena was one of the prospects affected by the ruling.
Already eligible to enter the 2019 PBA Rookie Draft, the three-time UAAP Finals Most Valuable Player — whom many pegged as the top pick of the class — instead chose not to enlist his name in the draft.
And it’s because he has a dream.
“Ever since before, I’ve always wanted to play internationally. And ngayon na may chance, na hindi lang siya me exploring my options and there are actually offers,” the 23-year-old product of Ateneo explained.
“It’s a dream that I always had, and sayang naman kung ‘di ko siya ma-take.”
The 6-foot-3 swingman has received offers from clubs from Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and Italy. Besides this, he also had a chance to play for Mighty Sports, and is currently part of the Gilas pool.
Having a chance to grow his game outside of the PBA is a sacrifice on its own, according to the second generation stalwart.
“My agent has been talking to the teams and now, my main focus is to represent the country sa First Window. I want to make sure na nasa lineup ako kasi sayang naman. I want to represent our country kahit may sure slot na tayo sa 2023,” he expressed.
“Gusto ko pa rin na ipakita pa rin ang level of basketball natin ’cause we don’t want to use those teams as benchmarks, we want to be the benchmark in terms of how to play and the level of basketball,” Ravena continued.
“Hopefully maintindihan nila na I didn’t skip the draft to dodge a team. For me, I always wanted to play internationally at may offer naman.”
But Ravena is not the only player affected by the ruling.
Dreamers from MPBL, Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3, and other leagues are now second-guessing whether they should immediately head to the big league.
For Ravena, he knows that the end goal of each hopeful is the PBA. But he hopes that the league waits for them until they are really ready for it.
“Sana there’s a way na we could reconsider that rule. On my part, it’s weird. Ang joke namin sa team, it will be Isaac to Ginebra as the first pick. ‘Di talaga namin iniisip ‘yun kasi ang focus namin is in the UAAP. And now na tapos na ang UAAP, it’s tough,” shared Ravena.
“Nangangarap lang din ako. It’s not like I’m trying to dodge any team. Skipping the draft was a risk on my part kasi wala akong guaranteed team. Kung ‘di matuloy ‘yung international teams, wala akong team, so it’s a risk for me. It’s not really a matter of skipping the PBA,” he added.
“Sino bang ayaw maglaro sa PBA?”
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