After news broke out of Thirdy Ravena’s signing with San-en NeoPhoenix of Japan’s B.League, many were left asking if he will still be available for national team duties with the Gilas Pilipinas.
A statement issued by the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) president Al Panlilio helped to clear the air as it stated that Ravena is still very much part of the Gilas Pilipinas pool.
"Thirdy has always expressed his willingness to play for the Philippines and he reiterated his commitment in playing for Gilas Pilipinas in a short conversation we had earlier. He assured us that playing for Gilas is a top priority for him and we're hopeful that the San-en NeoPhoenix will make him available for the Fiba windows," read the statement from the SBP.
Ravena is part of the Gilas pool that also has young stars like former Cesafi MVP Rey Anthony Suerte, Isaac Go, Allyn Bulanadi, brothers Matt and Mike Nieto and Jaydee Tungcab.
The signing of the 23-year old Ateneo star by the Japanese team was announced on Wednesday morning, June 24, 2020. The three-time UAAP Finals Most Valuable Player is now the very first Asian import to be signed by the B.League.
The SBP believes that Ravena’s experience in Japan would help the national team further in the long run especially with its bid in the 2023 FIBA World Cup which the Philippines is helping to host.
"The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas is proud that a Filipino basketball player is the first ever Asian import to be signed in Japan's B.League. We congratulate Thirdy Ravena for this achievement and we are one with Filipino basketball fans in hoping he finds success there.
"Playing in Japan is a great opportunity for Thirdy to expand his horizons and to learn more basketball at an international level. This is his chance to grow as a basketball player and everything he learns in Japan will be beneficial for Gilas as well. We are confident that he will represent the Philippines well with his talent and sportsmanship," said Panlilio. (JNP)