Kiefer Ravena knows how much Philippine basketball to Calvin Abueva.
So when the PBA finally lifted Abueva’s ban — which lasted 16 months — the 26-year-old NLEX Road Warrior could not help but be glad.
“Happy for him! Siyempre, he’s just like us. A competitor who has the same thoughts and goals as us,” Ravena told Tiebreaker Times.
“I’m sure sobrang eager niya na makabalik.”
Back on June 4, 2019, Abueva received an indefinite ban from the big league for displaying “offensive and obnoxious on-court behavior against the fans and his fellow players.”
The enigmatic matter had his professional license revoked, while also being banned in all PBA activities.
Ravena is very familiar with the situation.
Back on May 28, 2018, the International Basketball Federation handed an 18-month ban to Ravena after it found traces of a banned substance in his system during a FIBA World Cup Qualifiers game.
Ravena was only able to return to the hardcourt on August 25, 2019 — a tune-up between Gilas and Aussie club Adelaide 36ers.
Ironically, though, Abueva’s first game will be up against Ravena and NLEX on Monday at 4:00PM.
Though Abueva’s return was announced prior to NLEX’s practice for their game against Phoenix, Ravena revealed that Coach Yeng Guiao did not adjust much.
“It doesn’t change a whole lot. Phoenix has been winning without him,” said Ravena, as Phoenix holds a 3-2 record in the PBA Bubble season.
“He’s a key part in their system, but I feel like Coach Topex [Robinson] won’t throw him in the fire right away, so to speak.”
Knowing just how much Abueca is anticipating this — and having experienced it himself last year — Ravena has some advice for his good pal.
“Control your emotions and play hard. The game will come to you,” shared Ravena.
“And try not to beat us.”