MANILA, Philippines – Former UAAP MVPs Ray Parks and Kiefer Ravena will not play in the Gilas Pilipinas squad that will compete in the FIBA Asia Challenge in Iran on September 9-18, coach Josh Reyes confirmed on Wednesday.
Both Parks and Ravena, who were included in the initial 24-man pool of players, will instead focus on their dreams to make it to the NBA.
“He won’t be joining us,” Reyes said of Ravena on Wednesday night, after the members of the Gilas pool had wrapped up practice at the Meralco Gym.
“They (Ravena and Parks) were not in practice from Day 1, so all the preparations were ready for them to not be with the final (line-up),” he added.
Also not suiting up is Blackwater big man JP Erram, who suffered a knee injury in their loss to TNT KaTropa in the PBA Governors Cup last Saturday.
“(Erram’s) name was included in the list as a ‘just in case,'” Reyes said. “We were hoping that he will be available, but in reality, the PBA season will still be on-going at the time (of the FIBA Asia Challenge).”
“So our expectation with JP, even before he got hurt, was he probably won’t be with us,” he added. “So we were actually preparing without him. Bonus na lang kung nakasama s’ya.”
Yet even without Ravena, Parks, and Erram, Reyes does not foresee a lack of leadership in the young team that features a mix of collegiate standouts from different leagues.
“For the longest time now, Kevin Ferrer and Mac Belo have been the leaders of this group,” Reyes said. “I don’t think there will be a leadership void.”
The Philippines were grouped with India and Chinese-Taipei in the preliminary round of the FIBA Asia Challenge, and is assured of advancing to the second round.
The FIBA Asia Challenge serves as the first step towards qualification for the 2017 FIBA Asia Cup.
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