KIEFER Ravena joins the PBA rookie draft selection that formed part of the first batch of Gilas Pilipinas pool that will train in a month-long bubble at the Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna.
The NLEX star left Sunday for the bubble training, where other pro players requested by the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) from the league are expected to hook up with the rest of the pool members in the coming days.
Four rookie draft selection from the 2019 batch are with Ravena in the bubble, namely Isaac Go, Matt Nieto, Mike Nieto, and Rey Suerte.
Allyn Bulanadi was not included in the list after undergoing shoulder surgery just recently.
Nonetheless, SBP President Al Panlilio has again expressed his gratitude for the unwavering support extended by the league to the national team, which is preparing for the third and final window of the FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers.
"As always, we appreciate the unwavering support of PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial and the PBA Board to the Gilas program," said Panlilio, who likewise represents Meralco in the league Board.
"We had very good discussions with the PBA and we were able to get the commitment of several PBA players who will be part of the second batch coming into the bubble training on January 22nd."
Ravena made himself available for Gilas in the second window of the qualifiers held in the Manama bubble in Bahrain following the early elimination of NLEX in the Philippine Cup.
The 27-year-old Ravena was supposed to reinforce a cadet-filled national team during the tournament along with NorthPort's Christian Standhardinger and CJ Perez of Terrafirma.
But the SBP decided at the last-minute to go with a Gilas roster composed of cadet players and the five rookie draft selection for the qualifiers, and just allowed the three PBA players to get their much-needed rest after playing in the Clark bubble.
Gilas Pilipinas proceeded to beat Thailand in back-to-back fashion to hike its record to 3-0 in Group A heading to the final round of the meet on Feb. 18 to 21. (RG)