His status in the PBA may still be hanging in the balance, but that won’t stop Kiefer Ravena from showing his support for the NLEX Road Warriors.
The celebrated rookie, clad in all black, went to the SMART Araneta Coliseum to watch the Road Warriors take on the struggling Blackwater Elite — the NLEX’s first game without Ravena.
The 24-year-old’s visit was worth it, as he saw his Road Warriors claw back from nine points down with five minutes left to play and emerge victorious, 93-89, to collect their second win in the 2018 Commissioner’s Cup.
“We won so I’m happy that I was able to watch the team play,” expressed the well-spoken Ravena moments after the match. “I miss being out there with them, especially in games na ganyan, nakaka-miss. But I’m happy for them.
“I’m still part of one family, I’m still part of the NLEX Road Warriors. I may not be out there but I’ll be there every step of the way, just as they are with me.”
One of the things that made Ravena proud of NLEX in the victory was the way the Road Warriors moved the ball — the team racked up 35 assists, which played a huge factor to their 44.7 percent-shooting clip.
“Seeing them have 35 assists tonight shows na kaya ng team,” beamed the Ateneo de Manila great. “It looks bright and everybody has to work harder.
“Nakakalungkot kasi parang ako mismo nakaabala ako sa teammates ko.”
However, Ravena didn’t hide how odd he’d felt watching from the stands — he sat behind the officials’ table — which is a completely different perspective from watching games on the sidelines, beside his teammates and coaches.
“Medyo iba, kasi first time ko na ganitong persective na nanonood,” shared Ravena. “Usually, it’s either injured or coming from Gilas. But now, I’m free and able, but not allowed to. But God has His plans. He has His reasons.”
A decision from FIBA regarding his PBA status has yet to be released. And for the Iloilo-born point guard, another challenge is on the horizon: staying in shape without any basketball activity for the next 18 months, that is.
“Sabi ko sa inyo guys, one year and five months. Eight-pack na,” Ravena quipped. “Just being in shape, though walang competition, it’s all in the mind eh, that’s how I’ll be able to rise above it. Medyo mahirap pero kailangan lagpasan.
“Even though I’m not playing, I have to find my own ways of trying to keep in shape kasi mamaya baka biglang ma-lift yung suspension tapos nagpapabaya ako. Just being ready for whatever.”
But even with the suspension, that doesn’t mean he will walk away from the team that took him as the second overall pick in the 2017 Rookie Draft.
“I also want to make my teammates feel na ‘di lang ako yung may laban, sila din may pinagdadaan which is the conference. I’m still part of the team and I can’t let go of that responsibility even though this has happened.”