By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
Another young Gilas Pilipinas cadet heeded the call of head coach Chot Reyes and the rest of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP).
Hoping to have more reinforcements for the upcoming FIBA World Cup Asian qualifiers, the PH national team will have Thirdy Ravena back in the lineup for the February window.
It was SBP executive director Butch Antonio who confirmed their recent roster development after the addition of Dwight Ramos and Juan Gomez de Liaño who also came from the Japan B. League a week ago.
Just like Ramos and de Liaño, Ravena is also one of the Asian imports playing in Japan and has suited up for the San-En NeoPhoenix for two years already.
Multiple sources closely monitoring Ravena’s return to Gilas Pilipinas then confirmed that the versatile swingman already arrived in the Philippines and is ready to join the training camp held at the Mount Malarayat Golf & Country Club in Lipa, Batangas.
Ravena’s addition to the newly formed lineup by coach Reyes is a welcoming sight to the national team after a large portion from the previous team mentored by former chief tactician Tab Baldwin were unavailable and already signed with their different mother teams in the PBA.
Meanwhile, to fill in the gaps in the roster, coach Reyes tapped members from his PBA team TNT Tropang Giga to represent Gilas in the meantime.
TNT’s RR Pogoy, Jason Castro, Troy Rosario, Poy Erram, and Kelly Williams, who all had their past experiences donning the blue and white Gilas jersey, will seek to provide the much-needed leadership in a group mixed with several young cadets.
Aside from Ravena, Ramos, and de Liaño, hold-overs from the past Gilas squad Ange Kouame, Will Navarro, Jaydee Tungcab, and Tzaddy Rangel will also grace the first window.