PBA: Guiao, NLEX not yet thinking of life without Kiefer Ravena

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 26 2021 04:36 PM

PBA: Guiao, NLEX not yet thinking of life without Kiefer Ravena 1
Kiefer Ravena in action for the NLEX Road Warriors. PBA Media Bureau

MANILA, Philippines -- NLEX head coach Yeng Guiao is relieved that the difficult situation involving Kiefer Ravena has been resolved, after long weeks of uncertainty.

Ravena, picked second overall by NLEX in the 2017 PBA Rookie Draft, signed with the Shiga Lakestars to play as an Asian import in Japan's B.League last June. The PBA initially banned him from playing, citing the contract that he signed with the Road Warriors.

But the league reversed its decision just last Saturday, as NLEX, the PBA, and Ravena's camp came to an agreement that will allow Ravena to play in the B.League for one season.

"Medyo nag-ease 'yung uncertainties, nag-ease na 'yung tension. So, personally, I'm a little bit more relaxed because sometimes nag-iisip ka rin kung ano 'yung future," Guiao said on Sunday, after NLEX completed a 108-94 come-from-behind win over TerraFirma.

Guiao, however, made it clear that the issue was never a distraction for the Road Warriors, who improved to 2-2 in the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup with Sunday's victory.

"It's just my personal belief that I'm relieved, that na-settle na 'yun. But as I said previously, that issue did not have any effect on the whole team, whatsoever," he said.

Ravena was held to just five points on one-of-eight shooting by TerraFirma, although he also had seven assists and four rebounds. He dealt with foul trouble all night and played less than 23 minutes. In his stead, the Road Warriors got plenty of scoring from team captain Kevin Alas (21 points), and the best scoring effort of rookie Calvin Oftana who put up 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting from the field.

But when asked if Sunday night's game served as a preview of NLEX's life without Ravena, Guiao insisted that it's not something that they are thinking about at the moment.

"I think we have to just savor and enjoy Kiefer's presence while he's here, and then at saka na namin isipin kung anong pwedeng gawin when he leaves for Japan," said Guiao. "I was hoping talaga na mag-stay pa siya. Pero alam naman natin na very rare opportunity 'yun, so we understand that."

"But as of now, we don't want to think of life without Kiefer. We just want to enjoy his company, we just want to enjoy him being here and making a contribution to the team. Saka na namin isipin 'yun," he added.

Ravena will play for the Road Warriors until the conclusion of their campaign in the All-Filipino Cup, after which he will leave for Japan and suit up for the Shiga Lakestars.

Shiga opens its B.League campaign on October 2 -- against San-En NeoPhoenix, the team of Ravena's younger brother, Thirdy.

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