Kiefer Ravena’s leadership has paid dividends for Shiga early in the B.League season.
During close games, the 27-year-old has been a picture of calmness for the young Lakestars. Because of this, they snatched several close wins.
In a 95-72 blowout win over Kyoto last Sunday, Ravena did not need to play much. Instead, he was on the bench cheering on his teammates.
And NLEX head coach Yeng Guiao felt the least surprised that his former ward has been leading Shiga to greater heights with his heady plays.
“Alam naman natin Kiefer is an experienced baller internationally.
“Kasama ko siya sa World Cup, kasama namin siya one year before that. Nag-training kami sa Spain, sa Europe, sa iba’t ibang windows ng World Cup,” Guiao shared on Radyo5’s Power & Play. “So it did not surprise me that he would do well in Japan kasi kabisado niya naman ‘yung laro.
“And because of his talent, he can easily adjust to any situations,” he explained.
Last season, the Lakestars were near the bottom of the B.League’s table with a 23-36 record. With Ravena, they currently share the lead in the West District with a 5-1 slate.
“I have not watched a full game ni Kiefer, but I can see the clips, and makikita mo talaga ‘yung role niya doon sa team niya. He’s becoming a key player, he’s becoming a lynchpin in their rotation,” continued Guiao.
Ravena is averaging 11.2 points on 45.5-percent shooting from the field. He also has 5.0 assists, 2.3 rebounds, and 1.83 steals in just 25 minutes of game time.
Shiga’s gain was definitely NLEX’s loss.
Before Ravena left for Japan, he was the Road Warriors’ leader in almost every cat, norming 15.8 points, 6.5 assists, 3.8 rebounds, and 1.8 steals in four games played. He was also shooting a career-best 42.3-percent from deep.
“You must remember nung nawala si Kiefer, he was leading the league in assists and he was also leading the league in three-point percentage.
“‘Yun ang hindi namin napunuan agad,” lamented Guiao as they finished in the quarterfinals, bowing to Meralco in two games.
Ravena, though, must return to NLEX after his stint with Shiga. This, as part of Ravena’s deal with the PBA is that he can’t renew with the Lakestars or else he will face a hefty fine from the league.
But what if Shiga shoulders it?
That’s what makes Guiao anxious as June 2022 comes closer and closer.
“Baka matagalan bago makabalik si Kiefer. ‘Yun ang nakaka-nerbiyos eh,” admitted Guiao.
“Committed siyang bumalik. Ang tanong, kung kailan.”