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    Gilas not taking any chances as end of Kiefer Ravena ban nears

    Jul 15, 2019
    PHOTO: Jerome Ascano

    THE waiting game continues for Kiefer Ravena as he will remain in the sidelines for Gilas Pilipinas until the formal expiration of his Fiba-imposed suspension on August 24.

    Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) top brass aren't taking any chances as they ruled out fielding the NLEX playmaker in tuneup games leading up to the 2019 Fiba World Cup.

    "Masyado nang malapit matapos yung suspension. Ngayon pa ba tayo magri-risk?" said Gilas team manager Gabby Cui when SPIN.ph inquired about the matter.

    Ravena got his clearance to practice with his mother ballclub NLEX as well as the national team last June 24, but that's about the only concession Fiba granted.

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      As far as watching games in the venue, or even suiting up for exhibition games, Gilas officials said that remains prohibited until Fiba says otherwise.

      "Yun na yung mga gray area eh," said Cui. "Fiba said that the ban covers all basketball activities. Ang clearance pa lang niya is to practice."

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      That's why Ravena remained on the bench in Gilas Pilipinas' tuneup game against Mighty Sports last Monday and will continue to sit out when the national team flies to Spain for a pocket tournament against Congo, Cote d'Ivoire, and the hosts.

      He will also miss the first duel against Australian side Adelaide 36ers at Meralco Gym on August 23.

      The good news is the duel against Adelaide on August 24 will mark Ravena's on-court return before Team Pilipinas goes to Foshan, China for the World Cup.

      From then on, everything's fair game for Ravena as he vies to make it to coach Yeng Guiao's final roster for the global showpiece.

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      PHOTO: Jerome Ascano
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