By Jonas Terrado

Thirdy Ravena said his stint with the title-winning Mighty Sports-Creative Pacific Philippines in the 31st Dubai International Basketball Championship was a good learning curve especially being with some players with valuable experience.

Thirdy Ravena, center, is shown with Jelan Kendrick and Isaac Go.

Thirdy Ravena, center, is shown with Jelan Kendrick and Isaac Go. (Photo by Tiebreaker Times)

Ravena was part of the Mighty squad powered by naturalized player Andray Blatche and import Renaldo Balkman that dethroned Lebanon’s Al-Riyadi in the finals to become the first non-Middle Eastern team to rule the annual cagefest.

The former Ateneo star said seeing Blatche and Balkman, two former NBA players, work made him realize that there’s no margin for error.

“Yung mga little things on and off the court dapat di na tinuturo sayo, alam mo na kung ano kailangan mong gawin, especially playing with veterans like Kuya Renaldo and Kuya Dray,” Ravena said during the celebration of the team’s title victory Thursday at the Milkyway restaurant in Makati City.

“You really had no margin for error kasi sila they do their jobs really well and as a role player, kahit di kasing laki nung ginagawa nila yung kailangan kong gawin, I had to do it at the best of my abilities, and I can’t mess up. Yun ang professionalism na dapat mong gawin,” he added.

Ravena was part of a cast of amateur standouts that were part of Mighty’s third title, including the 2016 and 2019 wins in the William Jones Cup in Taiwan.

Among those on the team were brothers Javi and Juan Gomez de Liano, Isaac Go and Dave Ildefonso, who also joins Ravena on the Gilas Pilipinas pool for the first window of the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers.

The team also had veteran center Beau Belga of Rain or Shine, ex-PBA guard Joseph Yeo, import Jelan Kendrik and former La Salle mainstay Jaime Malonzo.

“For us to represent the Philippines is truly an honor, all the more much sweeter that we won the championship and to bring home the Dubai Invitational title,” said Mighty Sports’ Angelo Wongchuking.

Coach Charles Tiu said the team co-owned by Caesar and Alex Wongchuking has yet to make formal plans about playing in future tournaments but vowed to form an equally-talented squad if the opportunity presents itself.

Source: Manila Bulletin