It looks like Kiefer Ravena is not the only anticipated player that will join the Gilas Pilipinas practice on Monday night.
NorthPort rookie Robert Bolick confirmed on Saturday night that he will be in attendance when the national team resumes its training for the FIBA World Cup at the Meralco Gym in Pasig.
“Yes, pinapapunta ako ngayong (I was asked to report on) Monday,” Bolick said after the Batang Pier mauled the Blackwater Elite, 127-99, in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay.
Bolick, a member of the Gilas Cadets pool being groomed for the 2023 edition of the international tournament, got the green light to take part in the Gilas practice from NorthPort’s team management.
“Nagpaalam na din ako sa management. Pumayag naman sila (I also got permission from management. They allowed me) so I will be practicing on Monday,” Bolick continued.
He then vowed that he will strive hard in practice.
“Syempre, Pilipinas ‘yun so ibibigay ko talaga kung ano man kailangan (Of course, it’s the Philippines. So I’ll give all my best),” Bolick added.
However, he downplayed the idea of him taking over Jayson Castro, who the night before announced that he will beg off from the FIBA worlds.
“Hindi mo mapapalitan ang Jayson Castro e (You cannot replace a Jayson Castro),” Bolick said.
“Sa akin naman, I’ll just do my best, kung ako ba talaga or hindi. Kung saan ako iaano, ibibigay ko lang talaga, (For me, I’ll just do my best whatever assignment will be given to me),” he added.
Castro confirmed on Friday night that he will beg off from national team duties.
“I want to focus on my family because it has been almost seven years of non-stop basketball,” said the TNT guard, who recently married his longtime fiance Lyle.
The 32-year-old Castro, tagged as among the best point guards in Asia in modern-day basketball, has been with the national team since his RP Youth days in 2004 and has been with the current incarnation of the Philippines’ men’s basketball squad, Gilas, since 2013.
But for him, it’s now time for the upcoming hoops stars to shine.
“It’s time to give it to the younger guys and I see that they are ready,” Castro added.
He even hinted that his international basketball career is now done.
“Maybe,” Castro answered when asked if he is leaving Gilas for good.
Gilas coach Yeng Guiao somehow saw it coming.
“He has been serving the national team for quite a while. I don’t think we can say anything against him thinking about taking a break,” Guiao said.
Castro also said that he made Guiao and the entire Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas aware of his decision to sit out the FIBA worlds, but Guiao is ready to let Ravena take over the point guard chores.
Ravena, Guiao’s player at NLEX, was suspended for 18 months after his food supplement tested positive for prohibited substances, but the ban ends on August 24, just in time for the FIBA World Cup.
In fact, Ravena is set to be cleared for practice with any club by Monday night, the next time Gilas holds practice.