SBP not closing door on Ravena, Parks to join revived Gilas program

Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas official Butch Antonio said the SBP will always welcome former UAAP Most Valuable Player awardees Kiefer Ravena and Bobby Ray Parks with open arms should the two decide to rejoin the rejigged Gilas team.

Antonio said the national basketball federation respected the two former UAAP stars’ NBA dream chase in the United States.

“Of course, they’re (Ravena and Parks) always welcome. It’s just that they are making their own dreams and pursuits, so we’ll wait kasi wala namang actual deadline iyan,” Antonio told FOX Sports on Thursday.

Ravena is currently in Oakland, California to continue his individual training, while hoping he’ll get the chance to workout with some NBA teams soon.

The 6-foot-4 Parks, on the other hand, left Manila over a week ago to resume his NBA dream chase.

The left-handed Parks returned to Manila last May and saw action for Gilas Pilipinas, which played in the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Manila last July.

Antonio said for the time being, a good number of the members of Gilas 5.0 have made their verbal commitment to be part of the national basketball program.

Among the top amateur standouts, who already made their verbal commitment to the Gilas program are Kevin Ferrer, Mac Belo, Roger Pogoy, Russell Escoto, Mike Tolomia, Von Pessumal and former Blackwater rookie Almond Vosotros.

“They’ve already committed to the program.  Hinihintay lang nila kung ano magiging arrangement ng PBA and SBP,” bared player agent Marvin Espiritu, who represents Ferrer, Pessumal and Vosotros.

So far, the PBA and the SBP will still have to meet to finalize the details in regards to the set-up of the upcoming 2016 rookie draft for members of the Gilas 5.0.

Ferrer and Co. though have been selected to represent the country for the FIBA Asia Challenge set to start on September 9 in Tehran, Iran. – Richard Dy

Follow this writer on Twitter: @richava