Ravena: Chooks-Pilipinas raring to bask in 3x3 limelight | Inquirer Sports

Ravena: Chooks-Pilipinas raring to bask in 3×3 limelight

With roughly a week to go, the Chooks-Pilipinas Team is just about ready to head to France for the 2017 FIBA 3×3 World Cup.

“We’re 75 to 85 percent ready,” said former Ateneo Blue Eagles star Kiefer Ravena. “That (remaining) 20 percent is waiting for Kobe (Paras). I guess there’s not too much adjustment na when he comes. That’s the beauty of it, walang masiyadong play [sa 3×3].”

Ravena, Paras, former De La Salle star Jeron Teng and NLEX Road Warriors’ JR Quiñahan, will make up the Chooks-Pilipinas Team, which hopes to better the ninth-place finish of the 2016 squad led by Calvin Abueva.

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“We have a personal goal [to make] that 9th place finish better. Medyo mahirap ‘yung ginawa nilang (2016 team) nine so gusto naming gawin ‘yung mataas na,” said Ravena during his guesting at Sports IQ, the country’s first live omni platform sports talk show, Thursday night.

Chooks-Pilipinas will be facing European champions Romania, host country France, Slovenia and El Salvador in Group B. The tourney will be held from June 17 to 21 in Nantes, France. Ravena is confident of surviving the group stage and hopes to take it one game at a time from there. But he certainly won’t back down from trying to go all the way to the Finals.

“Konting sacrifices lang, we want to finish champions,” Ravena said. “‘Yun talaga, gusto namin manalo. Pumunta ka na doon and represent the country well.”

It may seem like a big dream for a team that was formed almost hastily just two to three weeks ago.

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“Siguro it was funny, it was all about timing with coach Anton Altamirano and coach Eric (Altamirano). They were talking to me about potentially playing for the 3×3. Sabi ko, ‘Sige, coach. Game naman ako diyan. Siguro, I’ll help you guys in forming the team,’” said Ravena.

About the same time, Paras was still here in the Philippines for a vacation. Ravena said the US-based star had been hanging out with his younger brother, Thirdy. All of them were headed to a workout, when coach Eric called the older Ravena about the schedule of a game.

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After talking to Altamirano, Ravena broached the idea of playing in the tournament to Paras.

“Sabi ko, ‘Kobs, ‘di ka naman lalaro sa NC[AA] this year. Anong tingin mo? Gusto mo bang mag 3 on 3? 3 on 3 tayo, sa France ‘yun.’”

“Napailing din siya, napaisip din siya. Sabi niya, ‘Sige, matagal na kong ‘di nakakapag-national team.’ Sabi ko, ‘Oo, chance mo rin ‘to. Ang dami mo nang natutunan sa States. Dalhin mo na dito para makatulong,’” he said.

And that was how Paras, out of nowhere, became part of the Chooks-to-Go squad.

Ravena was all praises for Paras and said the 6-foot-6 guard has the best chance of getting into the NBA, giving more meaning to them being teammates in the World Cup.

“If there was a guy who has the biggest chance in making it to the NBA, I would say it’s Kobe. I mean, we’ll all be proud if he comes in and makes an impact for the team, help each other out in making it to the championship,” said Ravena.

“He has a lot more to achieve. We’ll never know when kami magiging teammates ulit. You never know kasi just being with a guy, someday probably in the NBA, at least masasabi ko na naging teammate ko siya, nagchampion kami sa 3-on-3 World Cup,” the UAAP Season 78 MVP added.

As for his other teammate, Ravena is not that much surprised on how Teng performs during practice. Their rivalry back in the UAAP days played a pivotal role in their practices because they already knew each others’ moves.

“Siyempre ako bumabantay sa kanya noong college, siya bumabantay sa akin noong college. Hindi mahirap,” said Ravena.

Ravena also said Quiñahan’s presence in the team would make a good gelling for the team.

“It’s actually nice to have someone na older. [W]ith kuya JR’s presence, he leads us,” said Ravena. “He’s not really that loud type of a leader who would talk, pero leader siya sa loob ng court being a veteran and ‘yung presence niya iba.”

Ravena cited how the former member of the “Extra Rice Company” would make a good fit for the team.

“First, he’s a big with post move. He’s a big with shooting. And third sabi niya sa akin, he doesn’t have to go back in defense.” said Ravena. “With kuya JR, he’s just gonna stay in the paint. With him being in very good shape, he lost a lot of weight, he’s really watching everything.”

“‘Yung presence niya malaking bagay. Siyempre kahit anong sabihin mo si kuya JR, bruiser din yan. Doon siya nakilala. So ‘yung kalaban naming malalaki doon, tiwala din kami na may backer kami,” Ravena said.

With everything laid down, the only thing that would hinder the team for practices would be their personal schedule and commitments.

Teng has been making a name for himself in the PBA D-League as a key cog for the Flying V Thunders. They also have to adjust for Quiñahan, should a practice with the team conflict with his PBA commitments.

“Sakripisyo kasi 9 pm ‘yung practice namin to give time to our priorities and commitments with JR on the court, with Jeron on the Flying V,” Ravena said.

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Asked if there would be any chances of throwing out a lob to Kobe, the Phenom said they will work it out.

“If there’s a chance, we’ll dedicate it to [Sports IQ].”

TAGS: 2017 Fiba 3x3 World Cup, CHooks 3x3 Pilipinas, Jeron Teng, JR Quiñahan, Kiefer Ravena

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