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Gilas Men remain 'top priority' for Thirdy Ravena says Al Panlilio

Thirdy Ravena still wants to play for Gilas Men despite his upcoming B.League stint. Dennis Acosta (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--SBP president Al Panlilio assured the Filipino basketball fans that Thirdy Ravena is still willing to play for Gilas Pilipinas Men even if he is set to conquer the Japanese basketball stage by signing a contract with B.League outfit San-En NeoPhoenix.

"Thirdy has always expressed his willingness to play for the Philippines, and he reiterated his commitment in playing for Gilas Pilipinas in a short conversation we had earlier. He assured us that playing for Gilas is a top priority for him," Panlilio said in a statement on Wednesday night.

While some still see the PBA as a better competition, Panlilio sees Ravena's upcoming B.League stint as beneficial to his growth as a basketball player.

"Playing in Japan is a great opportunity for Thirdy to expand his horizons and to learn more basketball at an international level," Panlilio further said. "Everything that he learns in Japan will be beneficial for Gilas as well."

Panlilio then said that the SBP hopes San-En can clear Ravena, a member of the Gilas Men pool for the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers, for the next window.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno