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2023 FIBA World Cup

Manong Po: Kiefer’s words of wisdom for SJ and RJ


SJ Belangel blazed the trail for Filipino imports in the Korean Basketball League, with the former Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagle set to suit up for Daegu KOGAS.2022-23-KBL-Season-Daegu-Kogas-Pegasus-SJ-Belangel Manong Po: Kiefer's words of wisdom for SJ and RJ 2023 FIBA World Cup Basketball Gilas Pilipinas News  - philippine sports news

Not long after, fierce foe – and even fiercer friend – RJ Abarrientos followed suit, and the one-time Far Eastern University Tamaraw took his talents to Ulsan Hyundai Mobis.2022-KBL-Season-Hyundai-Mobis-RJ-Abarrientos Manong Po: Kiefer's words of wisdom for SJ and RJ 2023 FIBA World Cup Basketball Gilas Pilipinas News  - philippine sports news

The two are bound for Korea right after their latest tour of duty for Gilas Pilipinas from late July to early August. And it just so happened that on the national team, they shared the backcourt with somebody who knows a thing or two about playing abroad. Somebody who knows a thing or two about sharing words of wisdom.

That’s exactly why both made it a point to pick the mind of one Kiefer Ravena. On living by yourself. On being a pro. On seeing action as a reinforcement in a foreign league.

“Before kami umuwi, talagang lumapit ako kay Kiefer para kausapin about playing abroad,” shared Abarrientos, days after Gilas returned to Manila after their friendlies against home team Korea.

“Alam kong malalayo ako sa comfort zone ko ng ilang months e. Pero sobrang nadagdagan ako ng kumpyansa dahil sa na-share niya.”

Ravena himself, for his part, has already started, and then repeated, that his new calling nowadays is to officially serve as a mentor to young talents such as Belangel, Abarrientos, and Carl Tamayo. Being the ‘manong’ that he has long been to this next generation of Filipino players he had no qualms about calling “the future.”

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In particular, ‘The Phenom’ took Belangel under his wing, just as he has several other Blue Eagles.

2021-22-B.League-season-Shiga-vs-Kyoto-Kiefer-Ravena Manong Po: Kiefer's words of wisdom for SJ and RJ 2023 FIBA World Cup Basketball Gilas Pilipinas News  - philippine sports news

(C) B.League

“Actually, matagal-tagal na kaming nag-uusap ni SJ. Tinatanong niya ako palagi about how things are (overseas),” he expounded in a previous interview. “Ine-explain ko sa kanya na pagdating sa international, pro ka. ‘Di mo pwedeng i-expect na may magbe-babysit sayo, na may aalalay sayo sa bawat galaw mo.

“Lahat kayo dun, naghahabol ng trabaho e, so ‘di pwedeng basta-basta lang lahat ng gagawin mo.”

That was the advice he gave Abarrientos as well, reminding the young guns that they have to mature even earlier than expected.

Sabi sa akin ni manong, yung ilang months, hindi magiging madali. Mapapalayo ka sa family mo e. Sanay kang may nakahain, wala nang ganun. Yung laundry mo, walang maglalaba, ikaw rin yun,” shared the nephew of Philippine basketball legend Johnny Abarrientos.

“Ikaw na ikaw na lang yan. Sabi nga ni manong, me versus me.”

To be specific, Ravena urged Abarrientos to go out of his way to take care of himself – in all aspects, whether physically or mentally, or even spiritually.

“Ang inulit-ulit niya, yung mental and physical health ko, kailangan kong i-ensure. Pro na ako e, import ako, so may expectations,” detailed the latter.

“Kung kailangan ko raw maglabas ng pera para maalagaan ang katawan ko, wag daw akong manghihinayang.”

Even now, health is wealth is the constant reminder as well from Ravena to Belangel.

“Ang biggest lesson ko from him is how to be disciplined,” remarked the three-time UAAP champion from Ateneo. “Kasi wala nang mag-guide sayo para may gawin ka para gumanda yung katawan o kundisyon. Need talaga na pag (team) practice, readyng-ready ka na. Then after games, recovery time is very important.

“Hindi na tayo bumabata e.”

Indeed, the time has come for the next Filipino guards in line to showcase their skills on a bigger stage, under brighter lights. Fortunately for them, they have – and will always have – somebody to show them how it’s done.2023-FIBA-World-Cup-Qualifiers-Gilas-Kiefer-Ravena-on-RJ-Abarrientos-and-SJ-Belangel Manong Po: Kiefer's words of wisdom for SJ and RJ 2023 FIBA World Cup Basketball Gilas Pilipinas News  - philippine sports news

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