KIEFER Ravena can't wait to play and contribute for Alab Pilipinas and team up with former national teammate Bobby Ray Parks Jr.
The former Ateneo star, though, is still waiting for his injured hand, which got hurt in his stint with Mighty Sports in the Dubai Invitational tournament, to fully heal before joining his new teammates in the Asean Basketball League. But just the idea of playing with Parks for the first time in club level competition has Ravena itching to make his debut.
"Excited din siyempre kasi kahit papaano yung pinagdaanan namin, medyo similar. Hopefully, makatulong 'yung teamwork namin," Ravena said.
Ravena and Parks have taken similar paths, with both rising stars joining the NBA D-League team Texas legends although the former National University standout played for the team a year before the ex-King Eagle became a developmental player for the squad.
This time, their paths converge with Alab but Ravena is eager to take a backseat in scoring as he looks to develop other aspects of his game, particularly his leadership and playmaking skills.
"Hindi naman sa kailangan nila ng scoring, siguro kung makakatulong ako mag-settle down ng team and 'yung experience ko. Kasi nandun naman si Ray, sila kuya Val (Acuña), kuya JR (Cawaling), tapos imports to score," said Ravena.
"Siguro ako 'yung pwedeng maging leader to make sure to set them up to score. Kahit papaano, I can put pressure on the defense and look for my teammates,"he added.
Ravena was on hand to watch Alab Pilipinas face the Westports Malaysia Dragons last Sunday at the Sta. Rosa Multi-Purpose Complex. Unfortunately, the Philippine-based side suffered a defeat in overtime against the Dragons.
Ravena said he is no longer surprised that other Southeast Asian teams are starting to become competitive in the regional league.
"Mataas 'yung level of competition especially kagabi kasi karamihan dun, national team na ng Malaysia. Nakalaban ko na silang lahat simula nung 2011," said Ravena, who remains hopeful of his team’s chances despite the setback.
"'Sayang na we fell short pero nakita ko 'yung effort nila lalo na 'yung last two minutes na humabol sa kanila. Malaki rin 'yung effect ng crowd," he added.