Ravena, Abando lead Gilas Pilipinas 11-man roster for FIBA third window

Published June 25, 2022, 1:03 PM

by Reynald I. Magallon

Veteran playmaker Kiefer Ravena and NCAA Season 97 MVP Rhenz Abando will headline the Gilas Pilipinas 11-man roster for the third window of the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas announced on Saturday, June 25.

Kiefer Ravena (PSC-POC Media)

Also included in the lineup are Korea-bound guards SJ Belangel and RJ Abarrientos, Japan B. League import Dwight Ramos, University of the Philippines forward Carl Tamayo and Ateneo big man Geo Chiu.

Completing the cast are Gilas full-time pool member Will Navarro, De La Salle forward Kevin Quiambao, Ateneo star Dave Ildefonso and high flying youngster LeBron Lopez.

Missing the lineup is naturalized player Ange Kouame who suffered a meniscal sprain and a partial anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear last month which ruled him out for the entire window.

Except Ildefonso who sat out due to an ankle injury, all of the players chosen were part of the Gilas Pilipinas team that saw action in the two-game friendlies against the Korean national team during the 2022 KB Kookmin Bank Invitational in Gyeonggi-do, South Korea.

The nationals fell short in the two close encounters against Korea –first a 96-92 decision on June 17 before suffering another 106-102 defeat a day after.

Encouraging signs were seen for the national team despite the losses with Ramos exploding for 31 points in the second game while guys like Abarrientos, Tamayo and Gilas newcomer Abando providing solid contributions to the national team.

They will need more of that however as the Filipinos, who currently have a 1-1 record, take on the still unbeaten New Zealand (3-0) in their first assignment on June 30 at the EventFinda stadium in Auckland, New Zealand.

Gilas will then try to defend the home court against the still winless India on July 3 at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

The three teams are already assured of a spot in the next round after South Korea got disqualified after failing to send a team for the second window due to Covid-19 concerns.