Japan B.League Asian import Thirdy Ravena believes his experience in the “Land of the Rising Sun” will come in handy should he get the chance to crack the Gilas Pilipinas final 12, which will play in the FIBA World Cup this August in Manila.
The 26-year-old Ravena, who just concluded his third B.League season with the San-en Neo Phoenix, said he's learned a lot just playing against seasoned Japanese and foreign players, some of whom have experience in the NBA and the European league.
“My experience playing with three or four imports on the court, most of them ex-NBA players or ex-Euro League players, it's such a big boost to my experience to play out there with that level of basketball, and to bring it back here (at Gilas),” Ravena told veteran sports analyst Quinito Henson in his Youtube Sports Channel Playitright TV.
The former Ateneo star is also beaming with excitement, knowing that the latest Gilas pool is a mixture of young and experienced players just like his older brother Kiefer, a fellow Japan B.League import, along with naturalized players Justin Brownlee and Utah Jazz star Jordan Clarkson, along with 7-foot-2 young slotman Kai Sotto.
And as they combine their different skill sets with the rest of the members of the pool, Ravena hopes they can develop a strong bond, and learn to play together under coach Chot Reyes' system in the hope of coming out with a strong showing in the FIBA World Cup set this August.
“I guess it's a good mix of young and experienced players on the team, guys who played overseas, guys who have excelled in the local (league), the PBA, so it's a good mix and right amount of youth and experience that we have,” shared the athletic Filipino guard/forward, who averaged 9.2 points, 2.4 rebounds and 2.0 assists for Gilas in the 2023 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.
“Hopefully with the summer we have, the training and sacrifices we make, will be enough to make us jell as a team,” he added.
Ravena recently inked a fresh deal with San-en, guaranteeing his return for the B.League's 2023-24 season.
He averaged 11.5 points, 4.9 rebounds and 4.3 assists in 60 games for the NeoPhoenix last season, which finished with a 23-37 win-loss record.
Gilas is bunched in the same group with Dominican Republic, Italy and Angola in the opening round of the FIBA World Cup, which begins on August 25.
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