MANILA, Philippines — Kiefer Ravena rued another missed opportunity by Gilas Pilipinas, which failed to get back at Angola and their second loss in Group A of the Fiba World Cup 2023 in front of a crowd of 12,784 at Smart Araneta Coliseum on Sunday.
Ravena, who was part of the 2019 World Cup team that suffered an 84-81 overtime loss to Angola in Foshan, China, admitted that part of their motivation was to bounce back from that defeat to keep their second-round chances alive.
But Gilas couldn’t sustain its strong start and failed to complete a late comeback as it yielded to the Black Antelopes anew, 80-70, and dropped to 0-2 in Group A.
“With three or four players from that team of 2019 and some of the players who played in 2019 World Cup watching today, it’s too bad because we really wanted to bounce back against them. That was part of the motivation, bouncing back for those players who gave their best in the 2019 World Cup,” Ravena said in the postgame press conference after scoring three points in nine minutes of action.
It was a tough pill to swallow for Ravena but he still lauded the late fightback of Gilas, sparked by the energy of Rhenz Abando.
“I guess we let one slip. It’s really tough to compete if you’re down seven-eight points with two minutes to go. But at the end of the day, we gave ourselves a shot at coming back, especially with Rhenz [Abando] coming in off that last stretch, gave us a lot of energy, but came up short,” he said.
Despite another heartbreaker, the Japan B.League Asian import has no time to dwell on the loss as they still have a slim chance to qualify for the next round when they battle Italy (1-1) in their last Group A game on Tuesday at the Big Dome.
“We have to focus on the present, which is preparing for Italy. We can’t be emotional at this time where we have one more game left to focus on. Just too bad but we just need to bounce back,” Ravena said. “We just have to prepare, recover, forget about this, and prepare for Italy.”
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