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Thirdy Ravena headlines Gilas’ “Final 12” vs. Qatar

Thirdy Ravena will be the lone college star among the pro-loaded Gilas team against Qatar. Dennis Acosta (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

PASIG — A Ravena is making his way to the Gilas Pilipinas lineup for the sixth window of the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.

No, it’s not Kiefer but his younger brother Thirdy.

Thirdy Ravena made the final cut for the 12-man roster for the Philippine team that will take on Qatar in an all-important showdown in Doha early Friday (Philippine Time).

As announced by Coach Yeng Guiao on Tuesday night, Ravena will become the only collegiate player in the team that will be mainly composed of professional basketball stars.

Joining Ravena are Jayson Castro and Troy Rosario, his dad Bong’s players at TNT.

Also making the cut are Japeth Aguilar, Mark Barroca, Poy Erram, June Mar Fajardo, Marcio Lassiter, Paul Lee, Gabe Norwood, and Scottie Thompson.

As expected, Tianjin’s Andray Blatche will make the squad as Gilas’ naturalized player.

RR Pogoy will still serve his suspension at Qatar and can only become available in Gilas’ final game at Kazakhstan on Sunday night.

Raymond Almazan, on the other hand, will sit out the Qatar game due to an ankle sprain suffered in practice.

Gilas needs to sweep the entire final window to have a chance at making the FIBA Basketball World Cup.

Gilas is currently in fourth place in Group F with an even 5-5 record, one game behind Japan for third place.

Only the top three teams in each of Groups E and F and the better among the fourth placed teams will enter the FIBA World Cup.

However, the other fourth placer can also make the cut if China, the host nation, finishes inside the Top 4 as well.

China is currently tied with Lebanon for third place in Group E at 6-4, one game ahead of fifth placed Jordan.

Gilas, on the other hand, is currently one game ahead of Kazakhstan for the fourth spot.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno