KIEFER Ravena and the Samahang Basketball ng Pilipinas (SBP) made it clear there's a world of difference between illegal drugs and the banned substance that the NLEX star was flagged for.
Ravena tested positive for banned substances contained on the World Anti-Doping Agency list such as 4-methylhexan-2 amine and 1.3 dimethylbutylamine - components of the pre-workout drink 'Dust' which he took prior to their home game in Japan last February 25.
As a result of the flunked test, Ravena had been banned by Fiba from all basketball-related activities for 18 months covering the period from February 25, 2018 to August 24 2019.
Still, the former Ateneo star made it clear he wasn't into any recreational drug.
"What I'm really particular of is saying the prohibited substances that was found in the pre-workout drink that I took is not your common drugs," Ravena told reporters after SBP's press conference in Mandaluyong last Monday.
"Ayokong isipin ng tao na nagsha-shabu ako or nagma-marijuana ako or nagco-cocaine ako. That's way out of hand. Just to make it clear yun ang difference, especially in our country today where it's a very sensitive issue."
Atty. Aga Francisco, SBP legal officer, backed Ravena's statements, saying the pre-workout drink that triggered the positive test is actually available without prescription.
"The pre-workout drink isn't illegal in the Philippines, you can buy it over the counter and you won't go to jail," he added.
But since the decision has already been handed out, Ravena now intends to use his time off helping spread information about banned substances, especially among fellow athletes.
"Lesson learned. That's where we grow and where we learn," said an apologetic Ravena. "If I can be an instrument of this advocacy in the Philippines, I'd be open to helping other athletes avoid being in this position right now."
Nonetheless, Ravena understands that rules are rules and he's taking all the responsibilities.
"We went back and forth over the rules and totoo naman, we are responsible for what you take into my system so why would I blame anybody?"