Amid FIBA suspension, Kiefer Ravena displays unwavering support for NLEX

MANILA, Philippines – Kiefer Ravena wants the NLEX Road Warriors to know he got their backs the same way they have his.

While an 18-month suspension from FIBA prevented Ravena from suiting up for the Road Warriors, that did not stop the PBA rookie from cheering for his mother team in NLEX's 93-89 win over the Blackwater Elite on Wednesday, May 30. 

"I may not be out there but I'll be there every step of the way just as they are with me," Ravena told reporters after the game.

"I also want to make my teammates feel na di lang ako 'yung may laban, sila din may pinagdadaan, which is the conference. I'm still part of the team and I can't let go of that responsibility even though this has happened."

(I also want to make my teammates feel that I am not the only one who is undergoing a battle, they are also fighting for something, which is the conference. I'm still part of the team and I can't let go of that responsibility even though this happened.)

Instead of sitting at the NLEX bench, the 24-year-old sat next to PBA commissioner Willie Marcial at the Araneta Coliseum as he awaits clarification whether the suspension – the penalty after he tested positive for banned substances – also affects his pro career. 

Since the sanction extends to "all forms of leagues and activities," Ravena is also not taking part in the Road Warriors' practices and training sessions.

That's why it is no wonder why he badly misses playing with his teammates even if it is just the first time he has not seen action for NLEX in the PBA. 

Kiefer Ravena, who did not suit up for NLEX for the first time in his career, says it is a different feeling to be “able to play yet not allowed to.” Ravena still awaits clarification whether his 18-month suspension from FIBA affects his pro career. #PBA2018 | @RapplerSports pic.twitter.com/MrCKFQuv1b — delfin dioquino (@dioquinodelfin) May 30, 2018

"I miss being out there with them especially in games na ganyan (like that). Nakaka-miss (I miss it). But I'm happy for them," said Ravena. 

"Medyo first time ko na ganitong persective na nanonood. Usually, it's either injured or coming from Gilas na hindi muna pwede maglaro. But now, I'm free and able to play yet not allowed to."

(It is my first time watching from this perspective. Usually, it's either I'm injured or coming from Gilas and I am not able to play for a while. But now, I'm free and able to play yet not allowed to.)

For the meantime, Ravena, who averaged 17.2 points, 4.0 rebounds and 5.6 assists in NLEX's first 5 games in the Commissioner's Cup, seeks to remain in his sharpest form. 

"Even though I'm not playing, I have to find my own ways of trying to keep in shape kasi mamaya baka biglang ma-lift yung suspension tapos nagpapabaya ako. Just being ready for whatever, hopefully I'll be allowed to practice also."

(Even though I'm not playing, I have to find my own ways of trying to keep in shape because the suspension might get lifted. I'm just being ready for whatever, hopefully, I'll be allowed to practice also.)

The Road Warriors aim to make it two wins in a row when they meet the TNT KaTropa on Sunday, June 3, at the Mall of Asia Arena. Rappler.com

Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.

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