For Kiefer Ravena, the 71-81 setback that Gilas Pilipinas suffered at the hands of Estonia in a friendly match for the FIBA Basketball World Cup isn’t a major setback.
Instead, it is an eye-opener that taught them a lesson on how to compete in a world-class tournament.
One of the Gilas’ most seasoned international campaigners, Ravena preached patience, saying that they can’t be judged with just one game that came in the early stretch of their preparation for the prestigious 32-nation tourney that the country will host from 25 August to 10 September.
Ravena scored six points in just 20 minutes for the Gilas side that trailed by as many as 22 points early before making a rally late in the game.
The Filipinos fell short as Ravena and June Mar Fajardo committed crucial errors that allowed the home team to seal the victory.
Still, Ravena doesn’t see the loss as a disaster.
“We need to learn how to play together,” said Ravena, a five-time Southeast Asian Games gold medalist who was part of the Gilas team that played in the previous World Cup in China.
“We talked about the fact that this is June Mar’s first game after many months. Japeth had an injury and almost all of us came from different teams. So, this is still a positive outcome even if we lost.”
True enough, Gilas sputtered in the early stretch of their preparation.
Fajardo, a six-time Most Valuable Player in the Philippine Basketball Association, struggled with knee injury while Aguilar rode the bench when his mother team, Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, competed in the finals of the previous PBA Governors’ Cup.
For his part, Ravena, Dwight Ramos, Thirdy Ravena came from a long campaign in Japan while naturalized player Justin Brownlee checked in late after being placed under health and safety protocols in the United States.
Brownlee, for one, saw very limited minutes as he battled cramps in the crucial stretch of their match against the taller, scrappier Estonians.
Ravena, however, said losing a game like this is part of the process.
“I know the results we want are to win every game but right now, the process is more important and I hope we will all be patient with the team so we can achieve what we want.”