<
>

Thirdy Ravena to travel with Gilas, could make final roster

play
Thirdy Ravena will join Gilas in Qatar (1:10)

Thirdy Ravena confirmed that he will be flying with Gilas Pilipinas to Qatar and Kazakhstan, even though there is no assurance that he will make the final 12. (1:10)

Thirdy Ravena, the only non-professional player in the player pool, will travel with Gilas Pilipinas to Qatar and is being considered for a spot on the final 12-player roster.

Gilas Pilipinas will next practice Thursday morning at the Meralco Gym in Pasig City before flying out on Saturday for Doha for the final window of the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.

"[Ravena] has a realistic chance of making the team that will face Qatar," a member of the coaching staff said. "His defense is one of the reasons why he was chosen over another PBA player. He's an impact player and we could sure use someone with his skill set."

Gilas head coach Yeng Guiao chose the 6-foot-2 Thirdy Ravena over former Gilas players Terrence Romeo, Matthew Wright and Calvin Abueva.

"I really didn't expect to be put [in the Gilas pool]," Ravena told ESPN5 after Tuesday night's practice. "But now that I'm here, I can't still be in awe of the opportunity that was given to me [but] instead I have to utilize it and I have to make sure I perform."

play
1:29

Gilas preparing for final window

Coach Yeng Guiao is preparing Gilas Pilipinas for the final window of the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup Asian Qualifiers against Qatar and Kazakhstan.

With RR Pogoy out serving the last of his five-game suspension for his role in the Philippines-Australia brawl last July, Ravena could be the best option for Gilas.

"[My defense] is something that I started with," Ravena said. "My starting role before -- especially when I was in high school and college -- I started getting more minutes because they wanted me to defend the best players. ... It's not something new to me. It's a challenge that I want to step up to."

Pogoy will be available when Gilas faces Kazakhstan on February 24.