Injuries and withdrawals hit Gilas Pilipinas as he prepares for the first window of the Fiba Asia Cup 2021 qualification. Christian Standhardinger is outside and Japeth Aguilar too – without the much needed cap, talent and leadership of the Nationals. But the unfortunate incidents also cleared the veil of youth in the national pool, and Isaac Go is one of the men who want to face the challenge.
"If I have the opportunity, I'll only use [the situation]," he told reporters during a crush on the sidelines of a recent national team training session.
"Of course we are missing two great players," added the 6-foot-8-Go. “Both have served the national team for a long time and have been successful. But if you know the basketball heads of coach Mark (Dickel) and [Gilas Pilipinas program director] Tab (Baldwin), you will make it and find a way. "
When Baldwin and Dickel prepare the pool for a home game against Thailand on February 20 and a street match against Indonesia three days later, they also lay the foundation for the team that will represent the country at the 2023 World Cup by establishing a way winners culture.
And that's why there is a relatively young Kiefer Ravena (26) who takes on a kind of leadership role for the younger players in the pool.
"It was as if LA (Tenorio), Jimmy (Alapag) and Jayson (Castro) were facing me when I first entered [senior’s program]," said Ravena. "I try to be the guys who are now [these youngsters] mentally and physically preparing for the international game."
The absence of Standhardinger and Aguilar and the uncertainty of Ray Parks Jr., who deals with problems with his PBA club TNT, are certain to create opportunities for the small children in the national pool. Mac Belo also pulled out of the pool on Saturday to save an injured knee. But Go believes there is still a lot of talent left for the first window.
“This is a good group of people. We don't lack qualified players, ”he said.
Ateneo teammate Thirdy Ravena, Kiefer's younger brother, is one of the talented players in the pool. Thirdy said a recent visit to the Mighty Sports Club that won a championship in a Dubai tournament would be invaluable as he hopes to make the final list for the upcoming Fiba window.
[I] It's like being with the professionals on an international level, ”he said. "It is priceless what we have experienced [as a young athlete]."
And then there is the older brother Kiefer, who is always ready to share all the experiences he has gained at a young age.
"It is a completely different world when you become international. I was able to experience firsthand how I played basketball at the highest level," said the NLEX security guard who played for the country at the World Cup in China last year .
Whatever happens, the country's young stars strive to prove their worth.
"I hope that I do [the cut]," said Go. "If not, I totally trust the decision."
EDITORS & # 39; PICK
Don't miss the latest news and information.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to access The Philippine Daily Inquirer and others over 70 titles. Share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download it at 4:00 a.m. and share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.