NLEX vouches for Kiefer after FIBA suspension

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 28 2018 06:35 PM | Updated as of May 28 2018 07:20 PM

PBA basketball star Kiefer Ravena faces the media on May 28, 2018 to answer allegations of doping handed down by basketball's international body, FIBA. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA, Philippines — The NLEX Road Warriors organization on Monday expressed its full support for embattled rookie Kiefer Ravena, after it was revealed that the guard will be suspended by FIBA for a year and a half.

Ravena has failed a random drug test conducted by the world governing body for basketball during the FIBA World Cup qualifying window back in February.

In a statement provided to ABS-CBN News, NLEX explained the circumstances that led to Ravena’s positive drug test -- a shocking development that will keep the rookie from competing for Gilas Pilipinas for the next 18 months.

“The pre-workout aid that Kiefer took is completely legal in the Philippines and readily available at supplement stores around the country,” NLEX said.

“The instance identified by FIBA was the first time that Kiefer tried the said pre-workout aid, and since it was readily available to the general public, he did not realize that it contained a substance specified to be prohibited in FIBA competition,” it added.

“Kiefer has been using a pre-workout supplement which has passed prior testing, but it was not available at the time. The store clerk recommended a product to be similar, and because it had comparable packaging, there was a simple lapse of judgment in not inquiring further about the specific ingredients,” the team further explained. 

“In addition, Kiefer has passed multiple drug tests conducted by the PBA since the time he joined the league, and has also passed previous tests conducted by the SBP and GAB.”

The organization made it clear that Ravena, the No. 2 pick in last year’s PBA Rookie Draft, “has always abided by the principles of fair play and sportsmanship since he was a young boy.”

“While we as a team, do not condone the use of prohibited substances, we strongly believe that Kiefer would not knowingly take any such substance,” the team stressed.

Ravena’s positive test, as costly as it is, “was an honest mistake” according to NLEX.

“We believe this does not reflect Kiefer's character in any way,” the team said.

“We stand by Kiefer—our athlete, teammate, and member of the NLEX family—at this time.”

Ravena is currently averaging 17.2 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 5.6 assists for the Road Warriors in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.

He is coming off a solid performance in the Philippine Cup which saw him help NLEX make a breakthrough semifinals appearance, before eventually falling to Magnolia in six games.

A standout for Ateneo de Manila University during his collegiate career, Ravena won two UAAP titles and two MVP trophies. He has represented the Philippines multiple times in international competition, and has won four gold medals in the Southeast Asian Games. 

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