Thirdy Ravena, a member of the Gilas Pilipinas pool, acknowledges that his chances of securing a spot in the final 12 for the 2023 FIBA World Cup are evenly split (50/50).

However, this uncertainty will not deter him from dedicating his services to the national team and making the necessary sacrifices.

Despite recently concluding his third season with the San-en NeoPhoenix in the Japan B.League, the 26-year-old Ravena could have opted for a basketball hiatus.

Nevertheless, with the Philippines co-hosting the FIBA World Cup in August, Ravena admitted that he wouldn’t pass up this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to represent his country on the international stage.

“I will never turn down the opportunity when the national team calls, even if it means sacrificing time with my family. I have an immense love for our country, and representing it is the highest honor in basketball for me,” Ravena expressed to One Sports’ Carlo Pamintuan.

As the younger brother of Kiefer Ravena, Thirdy shared that since becoming the first Filipino player enlisted as an import in the B.League, he has carried a mindset of proudly representing his country.

“For me, it’s about the bigger picture and the greater purpose. It’s about honor and not just representing myself but also my country, regardless of where I’m playing,” he explained. Ravena recently signed a new contract ensuring his return to the NeoPhoenix for the 2023-24 B.League season.

“Even before joining Gilas, being the only Filipino in Japan back in 2020, I already felt like I was representing the country. People don’t just see me as Thirdy Ravena, the player in the B.League; they see me as a Filipino player competing in Japan,” he added.

With the FIBA World Cup approaching in late August, Ravena is determined to give his all during practice and the scheduled tune-up matches, while hoping for the best.

“The World Cup being held in the Philippines is a once-in-a-lifetime event. Despite having slim chances of making the final roster, I’m ready to seize the opportunity, especially now that I’m in good shape,” Ravena emphasized.

“Even if it means sacrificing my rest during the summer, I will still take the chance to train and play in the World Cup. The motivation of playing in front of a hometown crowd gives me that extra drive,” he continued.

Gilas recently concluded the third of its scheduled four tune-up matches in Kaunas, Lithuania, suffering a 90-80 defeat against the host country’s Selection team on Tuesday night. (ai/mnm)