MANILA, Philippines -- Even as he remains embroiled in a contract dispute with the PBA, it's clear that Kiefer Ravena is still focused on the NLEX Road Warriors' campaign in the Philippine Cup, according to coach Yeng Guiao.
Guiao on Sunday commended Ravena for his professionalism, noting that the guard has not been a "distraction" even as he continues to deal with contractual issues after signing with the Shiga Lakestars i Japan's B.League during the offseason.
"It's a tribute to his character. It's a tribute to his upbringing. Kilala ko 'yung pamilya nila," said Guiao, after Ravena scored 19 points in NLEX's 94-75 rout of Barangay Ginebra on Sunday.
"Si Kiefer is able to focus on the job at hand. That's the professionalism that he has," he added.
Ravena signed with Shiga in June, but was barred by the PBA from joining the Japanese club team as they insisted that he is bound by his contract with the Road Warriors.
Ravena, the second overall pick in the 2017 PBA Rookie Draft, signed a three-year contract extension with NLEX in September 2020.
He was still included by the Lakestars in their 12-man lineup to start the B.League season. Their campaign starts in October.
But in the meantime, Guiao said Ravena is completely focused on the Road Warriors.
"Ano mang mangyari doon sa mga issues in the future, pwedeng isang-tabi muna 'yun, at mag-focus muna kami doon sa mga laro namin. So he's been doing that," he said of Ravena.
"He's not been a distraction. Hindi siya naging distraction whatsoever. He's still the same Kiefer that we know from the very beginning," he added.
Ravena and the Road Warriors have had a promising start to the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup.
Prior to Sunday night's victory over the Gin Kings, they absorbed a slim 83-82 defeat against Rain or Shine, with Ravena putting up 23 points, seven assists, four rebounds, and three steals.