Kiefer Ravena could have benefited from a few days of rest after wrapping up his stint with Gilas Pilipinas in the FIBA Asian Qualifiers. However, with the opening of the new PBA season only days away, the second overall pick of the 2017 PBA Rookie Draft decided to rejoin the NLEX Road Warriors for a pocket tournament against Phoenix, Alaska, and Rain or Shine.
“We made the commitment to play for the national team but we also have a commitment to the PBA and our mother teams,” Ravena said. “Even though it’s tiring, it’s our duty to spend as much time with my mother team as I can before the start of the season. It would be more helpful for my adjustment and our team chemistry as well.”
So far, things have looked good for the Road Warriors with a win against Alaska and a close loss to ROS in the first two days of competition.
Against Alaska, Ravena had nine points, two rebounds, and five assists. NLEX was a plus-17 in the 18 minutes that the young guard spent on the floor. Against ROS, he had 14 points, four rebounds, and five assists.
56-48, NLEX 3Q 8:47. pic.twitter.com/Yc3ScVQhWl
— PBA (@pbaconnect) December 5, 2017
It was noticeable that Ravena was looking to set his teammates up instead of getting his shots up. He had good looks at the basket multiple times but opted to pass the ball to a teammate.
“As a point guard, that’s my role,” Ravena explained. “I was tasked to lead the team and we have legitimate scorers. Wala pa nga si Kevin (Alas) ngayon. My duty is first to set up everyone, keep the bigs in the game, bring the energy. Gusto ko muna ma-set up yung teammates ko because that will also open up the defense for me. Ang pinaka-importante sa akin is to make the game easier for everybody. If I’m free, then I’m confident naman with my ability to make shots.”
Ravena is still in the process of getting to know what it’s like to be alongside his new NLEX teammates but in the short span that he has spent with his team, it’s obvious why the franchise picked him in the draft. And although the team is excited to have a talent like The Phenom, their veteran head coach does not want to rush things.
“I’m limiting Kiefer’s minutes because I did not want to over-extend him,” said NLEX head coach Yeng Guiao. “I want him to have a break from his Gilas chores. Slowly madadagdagan yung playing time niya. I’m just trying to be conservative and not risk any injuries. I want him to recover physically. Yung ibang players hindi pa rin nagpa-practice, hindi pa rin naglalaro. Pero si Kiefer sa kagustuhan niyang makatulong sa team, he already joined us in the game. So it’s up to me to manage his minutes.”