Kiefer tempers expectations as Gilas faces Serbia, Dominican Republic in OQT

Published February 27, 2021, 2:23 PM

by Jonas Terrado

Kiefer Ravena is realistic about the chances of Gilas Pilipinas in its sudden inclusion in the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Belgrade, Serbia.

Gilas suddenly saw its Olympic bid revived after FIBA announced that the Philippines will take the OQT slot of New Zealand, which decided to pull out of the Tokyo Olympic qualifier due to “spike in the number of high performance events and the costs of sending teams abroad.”

By replacing the Tall Blacks, Gilas will be in Group A along with host Serbia and Dominican Republic, a difficult task the national cagers need to hurdle in order to make it into the semifinals of the June 29-July 4 competition.

“It’s going to be worth it,” Ravena said during his appearance in the Power and Play program of former PBA commissioner Noli Eala. “But again, we have to be real with how the other countries are playing.

“It’s really going to take a lot of preparation to win against those teams. Whether kung sino man ang papadala, it’s better to start as soon as possible. I mean, we have to take this blessing as it is an opportunity na di man tayo nakasali nung una pero nabigay pa din sa atin kaya dapat i-grab natin ito.

Ravena and Gilas missed out on the OQT in 2019 after finishing dead last in the FIBA World Cup in China, resulting in a drop in the FIBA’s world rankings.

The Philippines was named as New Zealand’s replacement by virtue of having the best ranking among countries in the Asia-Oceania zone.

Gilas is scheduled to play Serbia on June 30 before taking on Dominican Republic on the following day.