Kiefer Ravena looking forward to Governor's Cup as he re-joins NLEX in practice
Santino Honasan on Jun 25, 2019 02:15 PM
"Again, it’s more than three months until I get to play with them kasi sa September pa, we’re preparing early for the third conference, so hopefully, ngayon pa lang, good start na sa amin," - Kiefer Ravena
Just hours after his first practice back with the National Team, Kiefer Ravena also re-joined his mother team, the NLEX Road Warriors, for practice, Tuesday morning at the FCL Center in Katipunan.
The 25-year old Ravena, the number two overall draft pick in the 2017 PBA, had his stellar rookie campaign cut short after being handed a suspension by FIBA for failing a random drug test in 2018.
The suspension encompassed not only Ravena's international play, but also his professional play here at home.
Now, with just two months left before his suspension is up and three months to go before he can return to the court with NLEX, Ravena is treating his first practice back like it was his first ever practice with the team.
"I treated it as a normal practice, just like my first day last year," Ravena shared with the media during a post-practice scrum. "I want to make it routine as possible, to hasten the process, to get back to my rhythm, especially, ibang team ‘to eh, NLEX ‘to eh, so every time na nandito ako, yung priority ko is to really think about what’s happening now first, and then pag nasa Gilas, sa hapon, yun naman ng pino-proseso ko."
Apart from being able to return to basketball activities, Ravena said that he can also finally watch games as well, and he will be in the house on Friday when his Road Warriors take on Rain or Shine this Friday at the Araneta Coliseum.
"It was a good practice, we have a game on Friday against Rain or Shine. I’m excited to watch, it’s been a while since I’ve watched a basketball game. I’ll be there to watch and support the team."
More than just finally being able to run with his squad, Ravena said he just missed simply being around his NLEX family.
"Yung trabaho mismo, yung pupunta ka dito, yung pupunta ka talaga dito mismo to practice, talk to your teammates, do something that I love doing, which is play basketball, just being around my teammates, yun yung pinaka-namiss ko."
With the Road Warriors sitting at the bottom of the standings with a 1-7 slate and just three games left in the ongoing 2019 PBA Governor's Cup, it's highly unlikely that NLEX makes a playoff push. As early as now however, Ravena and the team are already getting ready for the third conference, the Governor's Cup.
"Again, it’s more than three months until I get to play with them kasi sa September pa, we’re preparing early for the third conference, so hopefully, ngayon pa lang, good start na sa amin."
By the time the Governor's Cup rolls in, Ravena hopes to have with him a fully healthy NLEX squad. Right now, the team has been ravaged by injuries, with their other key playmaker Kevin Alas being sidelined with another ACL injury and veterans in Larry Fonacier, JR Quinahan and RJ Jazul still working their way back.
Ravena is also excited to finally share the court with new faces in Jericho Cruz and Poy Erram.
Import Olu Ashaolu is also back with the Road Warriors and is expected to debut on Friday as part of their preparation for the third conference.
"With Jericho coming it, healthy si Poy, healthy is JR, with Olu, me and Kevin, si Jazul, he’s healthy, si Larry pa nandiyan, I think we’re ready to take steps back," said Ravena. "Our goal is to really win it all in the third conference, but we have to take it a day at a time."
With three months to go before he makes his long-awaited NLEX return, Ravena is making sure that the team gets into a groove before the start of the Governor's Cup.
Being away from the team and not being able to contribute was a difficult experience, Ravena said. Now, he's happy to be able to help the team out, even if it's just in practice for now.
"Siyempre, medyo mahirap, kasi parang medyo helpless ka, nanonood ka lang sa TV, wala kang magawa para makatulong, kahit gustong-gusto mo maka-tulong."
Soon enough, 'The Phenom' will be back on the floor, and that can only mean good things for the Road Warriors.
"Pero at the end of the day, tapos na ‘yon, ilang buwan na lang aantayin ko, at least ngayon, eto, makakatulong na ako sa practice. Ito na yung quote-unquote ambag ko sa kanila to make us better for the next three games."
"Again, it’s more than three months until I get to play with them kasi sa September pa, we’re preparing early for the third conference, so hopefully, ngayon pa lang, good start na sa amin," he added.