Surprised by Gilas Pilipinas 2023 call-up, Fil-Am Dwight Ramos vows to make most of chance
"I was surprised but I’m excited to just represent the Philippines." -- Gilas Pilipinas 2023 call-up Dwight Ramos. (Screenshot from a video by Steven Angeles via Twitter @stevieangeles)
The "#23for23" list by Gilas Pilipinas head coach Chot Reyes has made the hoops-crazy nation of ours excited for the future.
Aside from calling up the Philippines' best collection of young, homegrown talent to prepare for the FIBA World Cup in 2023, Reyes also included three U.S.-based Filipino-Americans.
The trio of Fil-Ams have been thrust into the limelight, and Dwight Ramos, a 6'5" guard for the California State University-Fullerton Titans was particularly surprised by his inclusion.
"I was surprised, but I’m excited to just represent the Philippines and represent my family here," Ramos told Steve Angeles of the ABS-CBN News North American Bereau in an interview.
While his fellow call-up Remy Martin starred for high profile Sierra Canyon back in high school, the 19-year old Ramos takes pride in coming the largest Filipino hubs in the U.S., West Covina.
Now playing for Cal State Fullerton, a school which has produced 3-time NBA Champion Bruce Bowen and former all star Cedric Ceballos, Ramos hopes to following their footsteps as part of Gilas Pilipinas' 23-man pool for the world championships to be co-hosted by the Philippines with Indonesia and Japan in five years' time.
Discovering his love for the game at age foour, Ramos worked on his game, and was a seven-minute YouTube highlight mix compiled, edited, and uploaded by his dad Artemio served as a catalyst for the half-Filipino, half-Russian teen's blossoming basketball career.
The mixtape shows a ball hawking, high-flying wing that averaged 28 points per game as a senior at Walnut High School.
Already showing off a smooth outside shot and shot-blocking abilities back in 2015, he's now slowly developing an even more well-rounded game while in college.
In his first two college seasons with the Titans, Ramos is averaging just eight minutes and three points a game. Still, when given extra minutes, he proved that he can be an offensive spark as he scored his career-high 15 points against California Institute of Technology.
"I’m best at shooting the ball but I think I can do everything else too pretty well," bared Ramos.
"I’m just looking to get my game as an all around player not just one dimensional so that’s what I’m working on everyday. I like to take pride on both sides of the basketball I don’t want to just be an offensive player," he continued.
After building his reputation from the ground up, Ramos also takes immense pride in his Filipino roots.
"I’ve always [been] Filipino. My grandpa use to take me when I was young to Seafood City Island Pacific (Editor's Note: Seafood City is a popular chain of Filipino supermarkets in the United States)," Ramos beamed. "I’ve always been around the Filipinos. I love to represent the culture."
As his talents flourished his family also made sure to take care of his and his brother Eli’s eligibility requirements. Eli is currently a high school Junior that’s also being recruited by colleges.
"That’s actually thanks to my dad Artemio, he’s the one that planned everything out. People started reaching out to him so he took it upon himself to bring me and my brother Eli we both have our passports," Ramos explained.
Ramos has yet to visit the Philippines, but he hopes to go soon to meet his fellow pool mates.
He plans on trying to connect with some of the U.S. based members like Martin and Cal State Northridge’s Kobe Paras, who he'll see next month as the Titans face the CSUN Matadors.
With a report from Steve Angeles, ABS-CBN News.