#SLAMRisingStars 2018: Raven Cortez of Team Hype

Height: 6’7″

High School: De La Salle Zobel Junior Archers (Grade 9)

Position: Center

Player comparison: Japeth Aguilar

Favorite NBA player: Giannis Antetokounmpo

Tournaments played: UAAP

International Experience: None so far, but he’s included in the lineup for the FIBA U16 Asian Championship

Expectations on SLAM Rising Stars: “Yung experience na makilala yung players from other schools, makipagkaibigan sa kanila. Siguro naman po lalakas din po naman ako dito.”

Most memorable game: “Yung game 1 ng second round against UE. Naka-nine blocks ako. Yun na yung pinakamaraming blocks ko [in a game].”

Most memorable lesson from coaches: “Huwag mong kalimutan kung saan ka nanggaling. Kasi yun talaga ang importante, kung paano ka nakarating doon, sino yung tumulong sa’yo para makarating doon. Huwag mong kalimutan yung mga taong tumulong sa’yo.”

Raven Cortez

In a country where basketball is a religion but height is a rare commodity, Raven Cortez can be considered as a prized prospect. Already standing 6’7 at such a young age, Raven easily towers over most of his contemporaries.

But he’s more than just a towering presence on the floor. He is a capable of dominating on the defensive end. He has shown glimpses of his defense, even when away from the rim. He can use his long arms to defend passing lanes. His quickness also enables him to challenge opposing players on pick-and-roll situations.

As unique as his skillset is, his niche is still where people can expect it to be—inside the paint. He has impeccable timing in swatting the ball. That was showcased in the 2nd round game against UE, where he had nine blocks, once a league high for the UAAP season.

Even with his good individual performance, Cortez values wins more than his stats. He already looks forward to perform better as a team. He is also hopeful for a deep run in the playoffs next season after missing this year’s Final Four. “Disappointing season nga ito. So, babawi na lang kami next year.”

He makes sure he constantly improves his game by learning from his shortcomings, especially after a bad game. “Inaaral ko yung mga mistakes ko, kung ano yung mga nagawa kong mali doon sa game na yun, at i-improve ko pa po.”

He is included in the lineup for the FIBA Asia U16 tournament scheduled next month. For the first time, he will have the chance to play wearing the national colors, something that he always wanted to experience.

But before that, he’ll make his debut at the SLAM Rising Stars, and play with and against some of his Batang Gilas teammates.