Sky’s the limit for Ramos

SPORTING CHANCEJoaquin M. Henson (The Philippine Star) – January 5, 2021 – 12:00am

Things can only get better for Dwight Ramos as he matures to become a solid player with Gilas heading towards the FIBA World Cup in 2023. Ramos, 22, has suited up for the national team thrice, once in the FIBA Asia Cup first qualifying window against Indonesia last February and twice in the second window against Thailand last November. He normed 12.7 points, 5.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 20.1 minutes as Gilas won all three assignments by an average margin of 28.7.

It was in Gilas’ 93-61 win over Thailand where the 6-4 Ramos shone brightly, scoring 20 points in 20 minutes, not missing a single shot. He went 5-of-5 from two-point range, 2-of-2 from beyond the arc and 4-of-4 from the line. Overall, Ramos hit 61.9 percent from the field and 88.9 percent from the stripe in three Gilas outings.

Ramos said he couldn’t ask more from Gilas project director Tab Baldwin, head coach Jong Uichico and assistant coaches Boyet Fernandez and Alton Lister. “All of the coaches have a lot of knowledge,” he said during an episode of The Philippine Star’s online show “Beyond The Game With The Dean.” “Coach Tab, coach Jong know their stuff. Coach Boyet taught me a lot, too and coach Alton. Every practice, I’m just trying to improve a little bit more, not just physically but mentally.” What makes Ramos extra special is his versatility with the ability to play multiple positions from one to two to three.

Ramos had been on Baldwin’s radar since he saw action for the Walnut High School varsity in southern California. He delayed accepting an offer to play at Ateneo to enroll at Cal State Fullerton for two years then at Cal Poly Pomona for another season. Ramos averaged 2.8 points and 7.7 minutes in 42 games, including five starts, at Fullerton. At Pomona, he upped his clip to 6.6 points in 28 contests. A memorable outing was Pomona’s 63-44 decision over Chico State with Ramos scoring 17 points in the 2018-19 season. With three years of varsity experience, Ramos decided to move to Ateneo where he has two years of eligibility in the UAAP. “I learned a lot from both those schools and I was ready to come over when coach Tab talked to me,” he said. “I really came to just check it out. I liked it so I stayed.”

When Ramos arrived in Manila two years ago, it was his first visit to his father Artemio’s homeland. His father has roots in Narvacan, Ilocos Sur while his mother Liliya is from Russia. Ramos is the oldest of three children. He has a brother Eli and sister Emma. “In the US, not so many students come out to the game but here, it’s like gyms are packed, stadiums are packed and it just gives you a little extra motivation to work hard like you just want to play and make people happy so it’s extra motivation for the players,” he said.

In the first window, Ramos played alongside PBA players Troy Rosario, C. J. Perez, Kiefer Ravena, Abu Tratter, Poy Erram, R. R. Pogoy and Justin Chua. “It’s different playing with older veterans so I mean, I’m still learning, I’m still young but it was fun to experience that,” he said. “I take a little bit from everywhere I’m going and learn a little bit and hopefully, it all comes together. It wasn’t hard for me when I came here. I went straight to Ateneo and all the guys were just so welcoming so that’s why it was really easy for me. That first game against Thailand, I didn’t even notice I didn’t miss until someone told me. I just took open shots and it felt really good to be there. I was just excited to play after so many months.”

Ramos said at the moment, his favorite NBA player is Devin Booker and in the PBA, it’s Bobby Ray Parks. He’s been compared to Matthew Wright, both in looks and style. But Ramos said he’s not thinking about it. “Wright’s a professional and I’m a rookie so I really think there’s a lot of work to do,” he said. “I’ll try to play basketball as long as I can, for as long as I can still run.” One other thing about Ramos is he’s dating La Salle volleyball star Kianna Dy so it appears that she’s another reason why he’s inspired. Clearly, the future is wide open for Ramos.

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