Kiefer celebrates 'birthday' in Gilas' matchup vs Aussies

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Aug 24, 2019 07:18 PM
Kiefer celebrates 'birthday' in Gilas' matchup vs Aussies
The next chapter in Kiefer Ravena's already storied career will be opened in a matchup opposite Australian club team Adelaide

It is yet to be determined if Kiefer Ravena will be starting or will be coming off the bench in his first officially sanctioned game after an 18-month suspension imposed by FIBA.

"We all know coach Yeng [Guiao], he surprises a lot of people especially his players," he answered to reporters who asked if he was going to be thrown into the fire from the get-go when Gilas Pilipinas gets it on with Australian club Adelaide 36ers on Sunday. "That's what happened during my rookie season - first game, he started me right away."

That matchup will be the 25-year-old's first officially sanctioned game since May 2018 when Gilas took on the Mindanao All-Stars in that year's PBA midseason classic.

Whether he would be part of the first five or not, Ravena will be ready and raring to go - if Philippine national basketball team head coach Yeng Guiao is to be believed. "Ever since naman na nag-umpisa siyang mag-practice, he was already in shape. There was not really any big adjustment in terms of getting in shape kaya malaki tiwala kong mabilis lang yung transition period niya," he said.

And once the returning playmaker gets the ball and dribbles it for the first time in a live game, officially, his mentor has no doubt he will only make the most out of this brand new chapter in his already storied career. "This is like a new start for his career, parang nag-birthday ulit yung career niya ngayon. This is his rebirth as a basketball player," the latter said.

He then continued, "I think all the things needed to put him in a good position to play tomorrow, we've done already."

Still, coach Yeng also pointed out that he and all of Gilas do not want to put pressure on Ravena in his return. As he put it, "Of course, we're all excited, but we don't want to be too excited. Ayaw naman nating mag-overexpect tayo. The important thing is he can play now."

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