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Kiefer Ravena sets high goals for NLEX after victorious return

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Tiebreaker Times Kiefer Ravena sets high goals for NLEX after victorious return Basketball News PBA  Yeng Guiao PBA Season 44 NLEX Road Warriors Kiefer Ravena 2019 PBA Governors Cup
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Kiefer Ravena is simply glad that he finally made his much-awaited return to the PBA during the NLEX Road Warriors’ match versus the Phoenix Pulse Fuel Masters in their 2019 Governors’ Cup opener Saturday evening.

The 25-year-old combo guard played his first PBA game back from the lengthy 18-month suspension. FIBA had sanctioned him for doping violations after he inadvertently took a pre-workout drink containing banned substances.

“Masaya na na-welcome ulit ako sa PBA.

“It’s been a while talaga noong nakapaglaro ako dito sa liga,” he said.

Ravena was a little over-enthusiastic, prompting coach Yeng Guiao to comment that he should control it. Still, the outspoken bench strategist also lauded the second-generation cager’s skills.

The 25-year-old guard out of Ateneo finished with 20 points, nine rebounds, and seven assists. He was also instrumental down the stretch, as his split free throws and a dime to Jericho Cruz helped repel Phoenix’s rally.

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NLEX eventually clinched the 123-116 victory.

“Kiefer is a little bit too excited. He really wanted to give a good showing and be a leader of this team. Sometimes he needs to control that enthusiasm, but he’s a smart guy,” Guiao said.

“You tell him once or twice and it sticks.”

For Guiao, NLEX have been missing Ravena’s presence, since he’s able to free up the other players. Now with Ravena around, the Road Warriors racked up 30 assists and made 20 threes in the win.

“Kasi sa amin, yung target namin is twenty-five or more assists per game, malaking bagay. We had thirty tonight” Ravena said. “If na-attract namin yung defense [by] spreading the ball well… Ball movement-wise, we’re getting easy shots.

“So mahirap makalusot sa Phoenix, malaking bagay na nakaka-shoot kami ng three-point so lumalawak ang driving lanes for Olu [Ashaolu], for Jericho [Cruz]. So malaking bagay na nakaka-shoot kami sa labas.

Now that his first game is in the books, Ravena hopes that this will be a start of a good conference. NLEX plan to make it back to the semis and maybe go all the way to the Big Dance — something the franchise has yet to achieve.

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“That’s the goal (semis),” said the Road Warriors’ second overall pick in 2017. “We’ve added a few pieces big pieces — Jericho, Olu, and Poy [Erram]. Hopefully, it’s a different story with this team na maka go-through sa next level.

“We made the semis [before]. Hopefully, we can make the finals this time.”

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