Yeng Guiao admitted expecting nothing less from the anchor of his Road Warriors team, pointing out that Ravena was doing good in the PBA when the call to take his act overseas came.
“Kiefer has been consistently playing for us before he left. He was in excellent shape. Ang ganda ng kundisyon niya bago siya umalis,” Guiao said during an appearance in the Power & Play program hosted by former PBA Commissioner Noli Eala.
The Lakestars so far, are tied with two others at the top of the B League standings with a 5-1 record.
In the five games he played, Ravena is averaging 12.2 points (4th in the team) and second in terms of assists with 5.4, while playing almost close to 30 minutes per outing.
Other than his physical conditioning, Ravena’s knowledge and understanding of international basketball somehow helped him be comfortable playing overseas, according to Guiao.
“Alam naman natin Kiefer is an experienced baller internationally. Kasama ko siya sa World Cup, kasama namin siya one year before that, nag-training kami sa Spain, sa Europe, sa iba’t ibang windows ng World Cup. So it did not surprise me that he would do well in Japan kasi kabisado niya naman yung laro,” said the multi-titled coach.
“And because of his talent, he can easily adjust to any situations.”
High expectations from Kiefer
Guiao hasn’t seen a full game of Ravena in a Lakestars uniform, but just clips and some of the highlights of his games.
Judging from what he saw, Guiao has no doubt the 27-year-old guard from Iloilo will play a big role in Shiga’s campaign moving forward.
“He’s becoming a key player, he’s becoming a lynchpin in their rotation,” said Guiao of Ravena.
And because he’s starting to impose himself in the B League, the NLEX coach said in jest he’s quite nervous Ravena’s supposed one-year stint in Japan may be extended.
“Kinakabahan ako, baka matagalan bago makabalik si Kiefer. Yun ang nakaka-nerbiyos,” a smiling Guiao said.
Before going to the B League, Ravena said he’s committed to come back after a year and resume his career with NLEX.
Guiao agreed, but appears to have some misgivings.
“Committed siyang bumalik, pero ang tanong kailan?” said Guiao, drawing laughter from Eala. “Yun ang problema, baka matagal.”
Ravena played just four games with the Road Warriors before departing for Japan when the Philippine Cup moved its semi-bubble from Ynares Arena to Bacolor, Pampanga.
Even in his absence, NLEX clinched a berth in the playoffs, but lost to No. 2 seed Meralco in their do-or-die encounter for a semifinal berth.
Guiao admitted missing Ravena's leadership and the other tangibles he brings to the Road Warriors whenever the going gets tough.
"You must remember nung nawala si Kiefer, he was leading the league in assists and he was also leading the league in three-point percentage. Yun ang hindi namin napunuan agad," said the NLEX coach.
It could be a case of NLEX's loss is Shiga's gain.
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