Gilas standout Ramos also takes talents to Japan
With the college basketball still shelved, Dwight Ramos, the Ateneo recruit who has blossomed into one of Gilas Pilipinas’ foundational pieces, has decided to turn pro in Japan, forgoing two years of eligibility with the Blue Eagles.
Ramos, 23, revealed the development on Instagram just about the same moment Toyama Grouses, another B.League club, made the announcement on social media on Friday.
“I proudly represented the country this past two short years, and because of all of that, this new opportunity arose for me,” the 6-foot-4 point guard said.
“It really opened doors for me in this otherwise challenging time,” he aded.
In bringing his act to the Land of the Rising Sun, Ramos joins a talented Filipino crop in the B.League.
Playing in Division 1 are Thirdy Ravena (San-En NeoPhoenix), Kiefer Ravena (Shiga Lakestars), Javi Gomez de Liaño (Ibaraki Robots), Ray Parks Jr. (Nagoya Diamond Dolphins) and Kobe Paras (Niigita Albirex BB)—a young cast of players who, along with Ramos, could very well fill roster spots for the national team to the 2023 World Cup that the Philippines will cohost with Japan and Indonesia.
Ramos said that his stint in Japan will, in no way, hinder his commitment to suit up for flag and country.
“My commitment will always be there for as long as I can keep playing at a high level and just keep running,” he said in the social media clip, before expressing his gratitude to the national federation’s leaders.
Japan has become a choice destination for Filipino cagers, especially student-athletes in search for a playing avenue as the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) and the National Collegiate Athletic Association remain shuttered due to the pandemic and the national government’s unpredictable measures.
Set to see action in the B.League’s second division are Juan Gomez de Liaño (Earth Friends Tokyo Z) and Kemark Cariño (Aomori Wat’s), two other collegiate standouts who decided to turn pro.
“I would have loved to officially play for the Blue Eagles, and wear that blue-and-white and get the whole Ateneo experience playing in the UAAP,” said Ramos, a US-raised cager born to a Filipino father and a Russian mother.
Ramos will join the Grouses, a Division I side that also feature Joshua Smith, the burly American who once played for the TNT franchise.
“The team made the playoffs last season, I hope to contribute to a championship run this season,” Ramos said in a statement released by the club.
“Basketball in Japan is growing every year and I’m very excited and grateful for the opportunity to play in such an amazing place,” he added.