With college basketball still on the sidelines, Ateneo rookie Dwight Ramos who became one of Gilas Pilipinas’ centerpieces, decided to go pro in Japan, forgoing two years of eligibility with the Blue Eagles.
Ramos, 23, revealed the development on Instagram around the same time Toyama Grouses, another B.League club, made the social media announcement on Friday.
“I have proudly represented the country for the past two years, and because of it all this new opportunity has presented itself for me,” said the 6-foot-4 point guard.
“It really opened doors for me in this otherwise difficult time,” he added.
By bringing his number to the land of the rising sun, Ramos joins a talented Filipino team from the B.League.
Playing in Division 1 are Thirdy Ravena (San-En NeoPhoenix), Kiefer Ravena (Shiga Lakestars), Javi Gomez de Liaño (Ibaraki Robots), Ray Parks Jr. (Nagoya Diamond Dolphins) and Kobe Paras (Niigita Albirex BB) —a young a cast of players who, along with Ramos, could very well occupy places in the national team for the 2023 World Cup that the Philippines will co-host with Japan and Indonesia.
Ramos said his time in Japan would in no way hamper his commitment to bear the flag and country.
“My commitment will always be there as long as I can continue to play at a high level and continue to run,” he said in the social media clip, before expressing his gratitude to the leaders of the national federation.
Destination of choice
Japan has become a top destination for Filipino cages, especially student-athletes looking for an avenue of play, as the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) and the National Collegiate Athletic Association remain closed due pandemic and unpredictable national government actions.
In the second division of the B.League, Juan Gomez de Liaño (Earth Friends Tokyo Z) and Kemark Cariño (Aomori Wat’s), two other university personalities who decided to go pro.
“I would have loved to officially play for the Blue Eagles, wear that blue and white and get the whole Ateneo experience playing in the UAAP,” said Ramos, a US-raised cager born to a Filipino father and from a Russian mother. .
Ramos will join the Grouses, a Division I team that also includes Joshua Smith, the beefy American who once played for the TNT franchise.
“The team made the playoffs last season, I hope to contribute to a championship this season,” Ramos said in a statement released by the club.
“Basketball in Japan is growing every year and I am very excited and grateful to have the opportunity to play in such an amazing place,” he added.
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