MANILA, Philippines—Kiefer Ravena might not have been able to play with the Philippines national men's basketball team in its tune-up games in Spain, but he still gained plenty from the squad's training camp there.
As he is still serving his suspension following a positive test for banned substances, Ravena could not play in the national team's games against Ivory Coast and Congo. Instead, Ravena settled for being Gilas' top cheerleader from the bench, while also providing game updates — and entertaining commentary — on Twitter.
While he was unable to play, Ravena's observations from the bench were of great help once they got to practice.
"You get to see the team in a different perspective kasi, so nakikita mo kung ano 'yung kulang, ano 'yung mga kailangan sa team, so pag nagpa-practice ako, 'yun ang ginagawa ko," said Ravena. " ’Yun ang pinupuno ko kumbaga."
"It was really tough to see my teammates really tired, especially ’yung tournament namin was at the latter part of the trip. Pero sobrang proud ako doon sa effort na binigay nila," he added.
Gilas wound up winning 3 of their 4 games, though they missed out on a match-up against the Spain national team.
Their improvement was not confined inside the court. Ravena was pleased with how the team's chemistry developed outside of it, as well.
"More than anything else, I guess ’yung na-gain ko dun is ’yung pag-sasamahan namin," he said.
"The camaraderie that we built all throughout the trip, ’yung little things na ginagawa namin, ’yung sama-sama kami na kumakain for breakfast, ’yung mga ganoong bagay.
"For a team na ’yung oras is not on our side in terms of practicing, ’yung mga ganoong detalye, malaking bagay ’yun para sa amin."
The national team pool will be complete by Monday next week, when the players from TNT and San Miguel Beer join practice anew upon the conclusion of the PBA Commissioners' Cup finals. They will then play exhibition games against the Adelaide 36ers on August 23 and 25 ahead of their trip to China.
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