SAFE to say, Kiefer Ravena is acclimatizing well in his new environment.
The 6-foot guard hardly looked like someone who's still in a transition period as he made an instant impact for the Shiga Lakestars in its two games in the opening weekend of the 2021-22 Japan B.League season.
But such play shouldn't really come as a surprise from a talent as elite as Ravena, who noted that the gap in competition between the PBA and the B.League isn't really that big, making the transition seamless.
"I think [that the level of play in the PBA and the B.League is] not too far in terms of competition. It’s just that you have to adjust to the speed and the physicality out here also," the NLEX star guard in the PBA said,
"They play differently out here and you have to adjust to the referees and everybody," he added.
Ravena averaged 15.5 points, 7.5 assists, and 2.0 rebounds in his first two games, which Shiga split ay home against the San-En NeoPhoenix side that included his younger brother Thirdy.
He has sustained his deadly groove from NLEX, where he averaged 15.6 points on 42-percent shooting from deep, alongside 6.5 assists, 3.8 boards, and 1.8 steals in his four games this 2021 PBA Philippine Cup.
"I think in terms of competition, Japan and the Philippines have always been neck-and-neck. I’m just so happy to be able to represent my league as well in the Philippines and showcase our worth as Filipino basketball players in a professional league in the PBA.
"I think in terms of competition, both are there. It’s just the adjustment of playing internationally, and playing with new teammates, and playing against different teams," he said.
If there's one thing that Ravena is wary of in his first year in Japan, it's the B.League routine of scheduling back-to-back games as he gears for a gamut home-and-homes during weekends, noting, "We rarely get those in the Philippines."
Lucky for Kiefer, Thirdy has already warned him about the challenges he'll face in his first season in the B.League.
"It is what it is. We have to make sure our minds and our bodies are always ready for it," the 27-year-old remarked.
What Kiefer is looking forward to is the outpouring support from the crowd that he and the rest of the other newcomer Filipinos are bound to experience - a refreshing experience given that the PBA has played behind closed doors for two seasons now.
"It’s really nice to play in front of a lot of people," he said. "Of course, back home, we’re not that fortunate. We’ve been playing in a bubble for two conferences now. So it’s just so amazing to feel the support of the fans, and the Shiga Lakestars family out here."
"We’re looking forward to playing away games and traveling and representing our team even though we’re playing in another home court. But we’re fortunate enough to play our first six games out here. So, hopefully the Shiga fans could always be out there and support us."
Ravena and the Lakestars will remain at home next weekend, this time hosting the Ibaraki Robots at the Ukaruchan Arena.
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