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    Kiefer Ravena on Gilas bench for tuneup vs Alab. Will he replace Castro?

    Nov 4, 2019
    PHOTO: Jerome Ascano

    THE possibility of Kiefer Ravena coming on board Gilas Pilipinas loomed on Monday as the NLEX guard joined the national team on the bench during its tune-up against Alab Pilipinas at the Meralco gym.

    Ravena has been mentioned by coach Tim Cone as a possible replacement for the injured Jayson Castro in Gilas' lineup for the 30th Southeast Asian Games.

    Cone, though, still has to get a definite answer from the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) on whether Ravena can still be inserted in the national team pool or not.

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    The SBP has already submitted the 15-man pool list to the Phillipine SEA Games Organizing Committee (Phisgoc) last Oct. 7 from which Cone would choose his 12-man lineup for the biennial meet set Nov. 30 to Dec. 11.

    Ravena suited up for Gilas at the Fiba World Cup at the end of his 18-month doping suspension and is enjoying fine form with NLEX in the PBA Governors Cup.

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    Ravena later said he was told by coach Tim Cone through team liaison Yvette Ruiz to attend the tune-up match against Alab.

    He said nothing is definite although Gilas already submitted his name to the SBP for his inclusion to the national team training pool.

    “Nothing is final for now. I’m just waiting whatever decision is going to happen,” the NLEX guard said.

    “I watched the game and tried to be with them as much as I can in terms of mentally present and mentally prepared para pagdating ng practice hindi na sila masyadong mag-a-adjust pagdating sa akin, ako na lang,” he added.

    Ravena said he’ll officially start practicing with the team by next week.

    If not for Ravena’s hurting back, Cone admitted he would have played Ravena against Alab.

    “Kiefer has a back issue after a bad fall in practice, so he couldn’t play tonight as well,” said the Gilas mentor. “I would have played him if he could have played because I think he’s just natural and he could have picked up things and play the natural type of game that we would want to see.

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    “Yeng Guiao’s offense is very unique but it got some of the elements that we're doing so I don’t think it’s going to be a stretch for Kiefer to learn our offense. It will take him a short time to learn our offense.”

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    PHOTO: Jerome Ascano
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