Despite thank-you message, no confirmation yet that PBA and NLEX gave their OK
Kiefer Ravena on Wednesday wrote a message of thanks to his NLEX team supporting his decision to sign with Japan's B.League's Shiga Lakestars.
In a statement, Ravena said he appreciates the "blessing" he received from NLEX management for the "next stage of his career."
"I would also like to thank my NLEX Road Warriors Family and Management. To Boss MVP, Boss Rod Franco, Boss Ronald, Coach Yeng and all my teammates, maraming salamat," Ravena said on Facebook.
"The support you have given me all throughout my stay has given me nothing but joy and great memories. Our dream of winning a championship will always be there. I am and will always be proud of this family.
"Thank you for giving me your blessing and backing me in this next stage of my career."
Ravena also thanked the PBA for "always supporting him."
Whether NLEX, the PBA and Ravena have sorted the issue — hours after the PBA clarified that Ravena was breaking the rules by transferring to another league — was not clear as of posting time.
At the time this story was posted, NLEX and the PBA have not come out with statements agreeing to Ravena's exit from the league.
An NLEX statement hours prior said team management was all for Ravena chasing his basketball dreams, but that it was leaving the matter up to the PBA.
"We understand and support Kiefer’s desire for personal advancement. However, as a member of the PBA, we are duty bound to abide by the rules and regulations that govern the league," NLEX said in a statement posted on the team website.
"The Japan engagement of Kiefer will need to conform to the terms of the UPC as well as the rules and policies of the PBA."
PBA commissioner Willie Marcial said the league's rules bar Ravena from signing with a different club in a different league.
"Hindi pwede," Marcial told ABS-CBN News in a phone interview.
Marcial said he and Ravena had "informal talks" Tuesday regarding this development, and he informed the player that it was against the PBA's rules and regulations.
"Kasi may UPC (uniform player contract) sa atin. May kontrata sa atin eh. So, masasabi ko lang, hindi pupwede," he said.
Meanwhile, Ravena also thanked Shiga Lakestars for signing him.
"I would like to thank my team, Shiga Lakestars, for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Thank you for the trust and belief that a Filipino can perform and play in such a prestigious league. Domo arigatou gozaimasu," he said.
Ravena also assured Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas, the sport's national governing body, that he will remain committed to the Gilas Pilipinas program and will suit up for the team if needed.
He also urged fans to support him in Japan B.League.
"Lastly, to the fans, I hope you join me in this journey. I am proud to carry the flag and to say that I am a Filipino. I will continue to give glory to my countrymen and women in any way I can. Please continue to support me."