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Basketball

Yeng Guiao believes Kiefer Ravena will enter the league ‘like a veteran’

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Although the 43rd season of the PBA hasn’t started yet, NLEX Road Warriors head coach Yeng Guiao already has high hopes for highly touted rookie Kiefer Ravena.

“Palagay ko by opening day he would have adjusted to our system,” said the veteran strategist, who nabbed Ravena as the second overall pick in the 2017 Draft.

“He’ll be playing like a veteran by the time we play our first games.”

This comes after Ravena had a commendable showing during the three-day PBA Preseason Games this week, where he averaged 11.5 points, 3.0 rebounds, and 5.0 assists over the course of three games.

But Guiao iterated that the SMART Gilas Pilipinas stalwart still has to get himself accustomed to the pro league’s style of play for him to reach the kind of level that the multi-titled mentor has projected.

“I know he’s been playing with a lot of top players in the national team and in different leagues, pero iba pa rin talaga ‘sa PBA — yung alam mo dito ka na mag-sesettle down talaga ng career mo. So kailangan makapag-adjust pa rin siya,” said Guiao.

“But it’s not going to be very difficult for him.”

Being spoken of highly by one of the most respected figures in the local basketball scene actually brings more pressure to him. But for the 24-year-old phenom, it is another challenge that he fully embraces.

“The pressure has always been there. Thats what makes it even more fun when there’s pressure because those are the moments where you try to rise above it and those are the moments where you stand out,” said Ravena.

“Ako, maximize ko lang yung opportunity na yun,” added the Ateneo de Manila great.

“Alam mo naman si Coach Yeng walang rookie-rookie sa kanya, lahat nabibigyan talaga ng opportunity maglaro. So ready lang palagi.”

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