GIlas Pilipinas coach Mark Dickel believes NLEX' Kiefer Ravena has the makings of a world-class playmaker and so he named the former Ateneo star skipper of the national pool gearing up for the first window of the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers.
"I have a lot of confidence in Kiefer. I think he can be a world-class point guard and my job during this window is to start getting that out of him," said Dickel.
"I've seen him do it numerous times for NLEX. I thought he was excellent last conference, really took them on his shoulders. There's no reason he can't do it here (Gilas)," the two-time Olympian added.
Ravena captains a Gilas pool composed of a hybrid of fellow PBA stalwarts and stars and fresh grads from the collegiate ranks. Gilas is trying to fast-track things as it kicks off its campaign on Feb. 20 against Southeast Asian Games runner-up Thailand then hits the road for the away outing against Indonesia on Feb. 23.
"It's another challenge for me how to try to make these stars work together in a span of 10 days. May pressure but hindi ko inaako ang lahat; humihingi rin ako ng tulong from the PBA guys, especially kay Kuya Ping (Marc Pingris)...andyan din sila Troy (Rosario), RR (Pogoy), CJ (Perez), kaming apat na nag World Cup, kahit paano alam namin kung ano yung highest level of international basketball so tulungan lang," said Ravena.
Dickel announced Ravena's designation during Gilas' Sunday practice.
"I think it suits him. You know he's talkative, he's communicative, it's his turf. I feel like he's more than capable of taking that role and doing a great job with it. And I think for what we're trying to build here with the coaches, with (GIlas program director) coach Tab (Baldwin), we're trying to implement, we want everyone to be like that but it gotta start with one guy first," said Dickel, TNT KaTropa's consultant in the PBA. (OL)