Ravena grateful despite cancellation of FIBA Asia Cup final window

Published February 12, 2021, 1:55 PM

by Carlo Anolin

kiefer ravena gilas
GRATEFUL – Kiefer Ravena, lower left in photo, expresses his gratitude on social media Friday after learning the cancellation of the third window of the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers in Doha, Qatar next week. (Photo from Kiefer Ravena’s Instagram account)

Nothing but gratitude.

Members of Gilas Pilipinas were all smiles despite the cancellation of the third window of the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers on Friday which was supposedly set next week in Doha, Qatar.

Seen in light mood, Kiefer Ravena posted series of Instagram photos with his Gilas teammates inside the Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna.

“Thank you my brothers! We’ve fought day in and day out, pushed each other to our limits and sacrificed time away from family and loved ones. All part of our journey to represent our country,” wrote the 27-year-old Ravena as brother Thirdy and girlfriend Alyssa Valdez show their support.

The NLEX star also thanked the Gilas coaching staff, which he dubbed as the “Avengers,” and vowed to harbor the learning experience to become better basketball players.

“Sa lahat ng Gilas [f]ans, hanggang sa [m]uli! Salamat sa [suporta]! Kahit hindi tuloy ang laro, alam naman nanjan kayo [para suportahan] kami! (To all the Gilas fans, until next time! Thank you for the support. Despite the cancellation of games, we know that you’re still there to support us!)”

Matt Nieto also posted a photo of him with brother Mike, Dwight Ramos and Angelo Kouame and simply pinned a Philippine flag emoji on his Instagram story.

nieto ateneo gilas
BLUE EAGLE REPRESENT – Matt Nieto, left in photo, posted this photo with fellow Ateneans Dwight Ramos, brother Mike, Angelo Kouame, and coach Tab Baldwin after the cancellation of the third window of the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers in Doha, Qatar next week. (Screenshot from Matt Nieto’s Instagram story)

NBA prospect Kai Sotto, for his part, launched a Philippine-themed shirt and added it on his Kaiju apparel as a remembrance and in celebration of his participation with Gilas.

The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas confirmed the cancellation after receiving a letter from FIBA Executive Director-Asia Hagop Khajirian, informing all teams from Groups A, B, and E, that the Ministry of Public Health in Qatar ordered to scrap the hosting due to the surging cases of COVID-19 in the country.

The SBP expressed sadness over the news since the qualifiers are set one week from now, but understood the final decision and the predicament faced by the Qatar Basketball Federation amid the global situation.

Gilas Pilipinas, holding a perfect 3-0 record, was initially scheduled to face South Korea twice on Feb. 18 and 22 and Indonesia on Feb. 20 in Group A.

Completing the Gilas training pool are PBA stars Ravena, Roger Pogoy, Troy Rosario, CJ Perez, Justine Chua, Raul Soyud, PBA special draftees Nieto brothers, Go, and Rey Suerte, collegiate talents Ramos, Kouame, Juan and Javi Gomez de Liano, Justine Baltazar, Calvin Oftana, William Navaro, Kenmark Carino, Dave Ildefonso, as well as Sotto, who decided to commit to the national team while the NBA G League bubble in Orlando, Florida is ongoing.