JAKARTA—Twenty years ago, future PBA star Bong Ravena suited up beside the likes of Johnny Abarrientos, Vergel Meneses, Jun Limpot and Marlou Aquino in reclaiming the gold medal in the Southeast Asian Games basketball tournament.
The Philippines had lost the previous championship to Malaysia in 1989. But playing as a hometown team in Manila, Ravena and the other Filipino stars would not allow a similar loss to happen when they took on Thailand in the title game.
Since then, the Philippines have claimed the gold medal in every SEA Games basketball event that they have entered. Save for a FIBA suspension in 2005 and the non-inclusion of the sport two years ago, the country has clinched every single championship in the biennial meet.
That trend might continue this Sunday when the Sinag Pilipinas national team go for the gold medal versus upset-minded Thailand, which had already pulled off an upset win over host Indonesia in the semifinal.
One of the players seeing action in the SEA Games is Ateneo Blue Eagles star Kiefer Ravena, the son of Bong Ravena. The younger Ravena is one of several second-generation players here.
Kiefer is no stranger to winning. He led the Ateneo High School Blue Eaglets to three straight Juniors championships in the UAAP before joining the senior team and becoming an integral part of the Blue Eagles’ four-peat campaign in the recently-concluded season.
But winning a title for the national team is a different matter, and Ravena wants to take home SEA Games gold.
“I’ve already won a SEABA Youth crown, but this tournament is a prestigious one, so I’d like to receive it as well,” said Ravena.
The Sinag Pilipinas squad also has two other second-generation players on the team. Ray Parks, son of seven-time PBA best import Bobby Parks, and Jeric Teng, son of former PBA player Alvin Teng, play different roles for the Sinag squad.
Parks is one of the team’s top scorers alongside Ravena, while Teng is a reserve player.
“I’m just happy to be here just like everybody else and to me, this is a privilege,” said Parks.
Teng doesn’t mind cheering on his team in street clothes from beside the bench.
“Reserve lang ako dito, but you can still do positive things for the team, and one of them is to cheer for your squad,” said Teng, whose dad Alvin was part of the Philippine team that represented the country in the Hiroshima Asian Games coached by Sinag Pilipinas coach Norman Black.