Reyes counting on Ramos, Ravena to lead Gilas squad
Published on February 26, 2022

Gilas Pilipinas Men scored a dominant 88-64 win over India in the February window of the 2023 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers on Friday.

The Philippine national team bucked a slow start to open their campaign on a strong note. Leading the charge for Gilas were Dwight Ramos and Thirdy Ravena. 

Ramos spearheaded the attack with 17 points, on 67 percent shooting, and also had four rebounds and three assists. Ravena, meanwhile, scored 15 points to go along with two assists, and a steal.

Gilas head coach Chot Reyes said that the plan moving forward is to really push Ramos and Ravena to become the leaders of this new national squad.

“What we’re looking for from Dwight and Thirdy is not to lead the team in scoring, but to lead the team. So we are really looking at them to be the leaders of this team. The mantle of leadership – we’re slowly transferring that leadership from Gilas players of the past to these two guys now,” Reyes said at the post-game press conference on Friday.

“This is a long-term program – we’re preparing for next year and beyond. Dwight is 24 [and] Thirdy is 25. This is part of their maturation as leaders.”

Reyes was also pleased with the contributions the team got from Kib Montalbo. 

The first-time Gilas player chipped in eight points, including two 3s, along with three rebounds and one steal in 15 minutes off the bench. Most importantly, Montalbo provided Gilas with some much-needed energy on the defensive end.

“[I’m] very happy for Kib, but honestly not surprised because that’s the type of player he is. He knows his role, he comes in off the bench. He’s our defensive spark, he’s gonna go after and really give problems to the opposing ball-handlers,” Reyes said of Montalbo.

“The good thing with Kib is he has rounded his game. Now you cannot just leave him open. And credit to his teammates – they trusted him and found him in open spots. Kib simply delivered and did what he normally does.”

Gilas hopes to stay undefeated in the 2023 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers when they face New Zealand on Sunday at 7:00 PM at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.