Chance for Gilas to step up without Jordan Clarkson, says Kiefer Ravena
MANILA, Philippines — Kiefer Ravena said playing without NBA star Jordan Clarkson is an opportunity for all the Gilas Pilipinas players to step up in the fifth window of the Fiba World Cup 2023 Asian Qualifiers.
Kiefer and his brother Thirdy Ravena joined the national team practice on Tuesday, a day after their arrival from Japan, as they brace for their back-to-back away games against Jordan on November 10 and Saudi Arabia on November 13.
The Shiga Lakes captain and the B.League stars including Dwight Ramos and Bobby Ray Parks Jr., who are arriving soon, lead the Gilas Pilipinas pool without their fourth window’s leading scorer Clarkson.
“It’s an opportunity for everybody to step up. It’s hard to fill up JC’s number if you’ll depend on one player. We need a next-man-up mentality, as the cliche goes. We need to grab this opportunity given to us,” said the Gilas Pilipinas point guard in Filipino while watching the UAAP games at Mall of Asia Arena.
Ravena said the team is looking good so far after his first practice with the pool.
“The team’s looking good and with the core players that played in the last window. We just need to make a few adjustments in terms of knowing how to play with each other. That was the problem last time when we didn’t have enough time to prepare,” Ravena said.
“Our team is more than capable of functioning on its own in terms of the players. The pieces are there. Kai [Sotto] will be there and the majority of the players from the last window. All of us will be coming off a break the PBA boys, B.League boys and we are sacrificing our time which is something we look forward to the windows.
The 29-year-old court general said they have to be wary of Jordan, which holds a 3-3 record in Pool E tied with the Philippines, especially of their three players Freddy Ibrahim, Abu Hawwas, and Al Dwairi.
“ We have to look out for their three players, Freddy Ibrahim, Abu Hawwas, and Al Dwairi. They are the focal point of Jordan, the team’s heart and soul. But everybody is capable of contributing so we have to prepare well,” Ravena said.
Ravena stressed they can’t take Jordan lightly as it is eager to qualify for the World Cup next year.
“We have to come in very confident just like any other window. We were reminded that Jordan hasn’t made it and hasn’t qualified for the World Cup yet. They’ll be coming out swinging,” he said. “We’re ready for them and we know that they have to win games in order to qualify. We have to be ready physically as well. Hopefully, we can execute well for us to get good results this window.”