Excitement filled social media Wednesday when the Japan B.LEAGUE announced that Kiefer Ravena has signed with the Shiga Lakestars as their Asian import for the 2020-21 season, which opens later this year.
The 27-year-old is now the second Filipino to play in the B.LEAGUE next to his brother. Thirdy has been with San-en NeoPhoenix last year, and will remain there for a few more years after inking an extension last month.
This marks yet another highlight for Ravena, who made history last month by becoming the first Filipino athlete to sign with Jordan Brand.
However, there’s one question open about his latest decision: What will happen to his PBA career, particularly with NLEX?
Ravena actually has a live contract — a three-year Uniform Player’s Contract (UPC) with the Road Warriors that he signed back in September.
Head coach Yeng Guiao, in an interview last March, admitted that his star guard had received an offer to play in Japan. While he doesn’t want to get in Ravena’s way, he’d like to remind him of his obligations to NLEX and the PBA.
The outspoken bench tactician said in the same interview that the Gilas Pilipinas team captain would need to secure clearance from both the ball club and the league first before he could fly to Japan and play there.
Tiebreaker Times reached out to Commissioner Willie Marcial immediately after the B.LEAGUE’s announcement. He also stood by the PBA’s rules.
“Sa ruling ng PBA, hindi pwede. Kasi sa UPC, may kontrata siya,” said the fourth-year league chief.
Now, it is up to Ravena on how will he work his way around that in order for him to see action for the Lakestars, who went 23-36 last season.
The NLEX management has been sought for comment but has yet to send one as of publishing.