MANILA—NLEX guard Kiefer Ravena made his debut for the Tim Cone-coached Gilas Pilipinas side on Monday evening, playing in a tune-up game against San Miguel Alab Pilipinas.
The national team absorbed a 93-89 loss to the ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) team, with Ravena scoring only 2 points.
"We played a very strong and well-prepared Alab team," said Ravena after the game. "It's a good wake-up call for each and everyone of us, that if we don’t work hard and play together, this is what’s gonna happen."
"We can’t take anybody lightly, especially sa SEA Games na ayaw namin pagsisihan sa dulo na, baka madali ka ng isa, wala ka ng chance para bumawi," he added.
The tune-up game marked the final order of business for Ravena on Monday evening, after a packed weekend that saw him play for the Road Warriors in the 2019 PBA Governors' Cup on Sunday night against Magnolia, and then practice with his mother team in the morning.
Yet he pointed out that the tight schedule was nothing new for him -- or for any of the other Gilas players, for that matter. Indeed, Christian Standhardinger was also coming off a busy weekend, having played for NorthPort on Sunday against the Meralco Bolts.
"Hindi lang naman ako," said Ravena. "Si Christian, naglaro din kahapon."
"It's part of what we do," he said. "So we're not gonna complain with the schedule, we’re not gonna complain of sunod-sunod na practices. We love playing basketball, and this is what we do, we play."
Cone gave Ravena a passing mark for his first game with the national team that will represent the Philippines in the upcoming Southeast Asian Games.
"Well, Kiefer never had a practice with us," Cone noted. "He just stepped in there and played, and he played down the stretch for us. So, he made plays, and you know, that’s just Kiefer."
Ravena, for his part, said it was an honor to play for the multi-titled mentor and vowed to maximize every opportunity to learn from Cone.
"I can use it to my advantage in the PBA, learning different systems, especially being under Coach Tim. So hopefully it works out, more than just for me but for the team, most importantly," said Ravena.
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