MANILA, Philippines – Even if he can't step onto the court yet, Kiefer Ravena is already fired up for his basketball return, especiallly after seeing his teammate Kevin Alas go down with another ACL injury.
"It really sucks. As soon as Kevin got injured, and then I got suspended, I was really looking forward to teaming up with him again when I come back by August," lamented Ravena in an interview with Rappler.
"I guess that’s one motivation also for me that if you have one comrade down, you’ll have to pick him up whether he can play or he can’t play."
Aside from Ravena, the NLEX team and their fans extend their support to Alas by wearing "Kevin Strong" patches on their jerseys during the game against the Phoenix Fuel Masters.
Alas will undergo surgery on Saturday, February 9.
View this post on Instagram Prayers for @kevinlouiealas' surgery today! #ArangkadaAlas #ArangkadaNLEX A post shared by NLEX Road Warriors (@arangkadanlex) on Feb 8, 2019 at 3:48pm PST
Ravena – who was suspended by FIBA for 18 months for testing positive on banned substances – is slated for a return to basketball in August.
For now, he is trying to stay in shape on his own as he aims to surprise everyone that he can still keep up with the competition despite the long layoff.
"I have to be stronger, I have to be mentally tougher than anyone else, trying to develop that mindset that when I come back, I’m just going to be better than [what] everybody else has expected," said Ravena.
When he returns, the basketball phenom will also reunite with his former Ateneo teammates Poy Erram and Kris Porter.
But for now, he believes that the former Blue Eagles can make a great unit with the other newcomers like Paul Varilla, Marion Magat and Kyles Lao, especially while he and Alas are sitting out of the PBA.
Without their standout guards, the NLEX Road Warriors hold a 2-4 record in the 2019 Philippine Cup conference. – Rappler.com
More commonly known as “Bee”, Beatrice is a multimedia sports reporter for Rappler, who covers Phillippine sports governance, national teams, football and the UAAP. Stay tuned for her news and features on Philippine sports and videos like the Rappler Athlete’s Corner and Rappler Sports Timeout.