IT is an understatement to say that Kiefer Ravena couldn't wait for Monday to come, the first day he was allowed to finally practice following a Fiba doping ban.
Ravena attended the practice of Gilas Pilipinas on Monday night at the Meralco Gym, 16 months after he was banned by Fiba from all basketball-related activities after ingesting substance banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency.
While Ravena is banned for 18 months as per the decision of Fiba, the NLEX player is already allowed to engage in basketball-related activities including practices. He will be eligible to play on August 24.
Ravena said he has been waiting for this day to come.
“Parang bata na kinuhanan mo ng laruan tapos binalik mo din uli ‘yung matagal niyang hindi nalalaro,” Ravena told reporters after Monday’s practice. “That’s exactly how I feel.”
Ravena said he was so excited to return to practice that he has been waking up very early in the days leading up to Monday.
“Sobrang anxious ko nga eh nung palapit na ng palapit sa araw na ‘to. Paaga ako ng paaga ng gising. Nagigising ako 2 o’clock in the morning, 3 o’clock in the morning tapos pagdating ko, wala pa pala.”
When Monday came, Ravena said: “Naging sobrang haba ng araw ko. Halos 3:30, 4:30 gising na ako knowing that I will be able to practice 12 hours from that time that I woke up. It’s a great feeling.”
Ravena said he feels blessed that the first-ever practice he attended since the Fiba ban was with Gilas Pilipinas.
“Umabot sa point na ‘to na nakapag-practice ako tapos national team pa. Very welcoming atmosphere. Mga teammates ko, one way or the other, nakalaro ko na nung unang dalawang windows. I’m very open to learning din how we can work toether kung kami ang magrerepresent sa World Cup,” Ravena said.
Ravena got involved in reviewing the plays of Gilas Pilipinas head coach Yeng Guiao, and also played a 5-on-5 with the team, the first time the national team did so in the build-up for the World Cup.
“I’m ecstatic to be with coach Yeng and the coaching staff and even expand my knowledge of the system that I already know. Most important is being around with this team and my teammates na first time or maraming beses ko na nakasama,” said Ravena.