Thirdy Ravena refused to look at silver linings despite a splendid performance for Gilas Pilipinas in the 88-63 loss to New Zealand in the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.
Ravena was one of the few bright spots in the game held Sunday, Feb. 27 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, leading all Gilas scorers with 23 points while adding five rebounds, five assists and five steals.
But it hardly mattered in the end for Ravena as Gilas was left to settle for a split of its two-game schedule in the February window.
“Well, it’s hard to be proud of,” Ravena said in the post-match press conference. “I mean, it’s hard to be happy right now at this moment kasi nga talo kami. it doesn’t mean anything if you score 40 points and lose the game.
“I feel like we could have beat this team, but that’s the frustrating part about it. We were able to fight, but yun nga nakakapanghinayang at the end of the day,” he added.
The window has allowed the 25-year-old to show why his decision to play the last two years with San-En Neophoenix in Japan’s B.League has paid off with his level of performance against India and New Zealand.
He made 9-of-18 shots, fearlessly going for baskets against the taller and heftier New Zealand side. It was the same mentality that allowed Ravena to have trips on the free throw line.
But Ravena couldn’t capitalize on those chances, as he missed seven of his 10 attempts from the 15-foot line which added to the frustrating defeat.
It will be one of the things Ravena will work on as he once again leaves the comfort of being at home to resume his B.League campaign in the Land of the Rising Sun.
He also hopes that the lessons of such defeat would be beneficial when the time comes that Ravena gets the call to don the Gilas jersey.
“It’s always a blessing to be able to have this opportunity to represent the country to fight against great teams. And tonight, we fought (and were) very proud of that,” he said.
“It’s definitely going to be a learning lesson for all of us.”