KIEFER Ravena has accepted an 18-month suspension from Fiba for a failed drug test, admitting he unknowingly ingested a banned drug from a 'pre-game drink.'
In a press conference on Monday at the TV5 Media Center, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) revealed Ravena tested positive for three ingredients found in the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) list of prohibited substances.
The random test, done on February 25, 2018 after Gilas Pilipinas’ match against Japan at the Mall of Asia Arena, came after Ravena claimed he drank a pre-workout sports drink without knowing that it contained the banned substances.
"Honest mistake," said the PBA rookie sensation while being flanked by SBP chairman emeritus Manny V. Pangilinan, SBP president Al Panlilio, SBP executive director Sonny Barrios, Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Ricky Vargas and NLEX head Rodrigo Franco.
The SBP added Ravena is ineligible to play from February 25, 2018 to August 24, 2019, although officials added they still have to seek clarification from Fiba on whether Ravena can still play for NLEX in the PBA during the course of the Fiba suspension.
However, sources said the PBA is a Fiba-sanctioned league and therefore covered by the suspension.
Ravena, 24, said he will take full responsibility for the action “no matter how painful it is” and will make it an advocacy to spread awareness among Filipino athletes about the dangers of taking Wada-prohibited substances.
Panlilio apologized to the people of Iloilo, Ravena’s hometown, for SBP's decision to pull him out of the All-Star Game on Sunday and bring him back to Manila for the press conference.
Panlilio also made it clear Ravena didn’t ingest illegal substances like marijuana, shabu, and cocaine, with the SBP mentioning 'DUST' as the pre-game drink Ravena bought over the counter and ingested.
A Fiba panel said Ravena tested positive for 4-methylhexan-2-amine(methylhexaneamine), 1,3-dimethylbutylamine (DMBA), and higenamine - all in Wada's list of banned substances.
“I’m in front of you guys today to take full responsibility for my action despite how painful and dreadful it is. I regret taking this pre-workout drink without analyzing and taking extra time to know what it’s ingredients are,” said Ravena.
Ravena also made it clear the banned substances are not the usual illegal drugs but are contained in drinks available over the counter.
“The components found in the test are not the drugs that we are familiar with like drugs, shabu, marijuana, etc. It is an over-the-counter product available to the general public in drug stores that you mix with water and drink it before you work out or before you play the game,” said Ravena.
Ravena said it was his first time ever to drink the sports beverage prior to a game.
“For me, this is just my honest mistake in taking the pre-workout drink,” said Ravena.