For the first time since FIBA banned him from all basketball-related activities for a failed random substance abuse test, Kiefer Ravena re-joined his Gilas Pilipinas brothers in a tune-up match against the Adelaide 36ers.
"It has been one crazy journey. I learned a lot, met a lot of people who really helped me remain optimistic with all the things I have to look forward to despite being suspended," he told SPIN.ph.
After attending the Philippine Sports Commission's National Doping Summit as its newest ambassador—raising education and awareness for anti-doping in the country—he got back to work with then-collegiate stars Robert Bolick and Sean Manganti in personal workouts. Kiefer's dad Bong also revealed that his son trained with a top strength and conditioning coach in the US to stay in game shape. It's only a matter of time before the superstar people knew and loved returns to top form.
Ravena's return coincides with him being the newest athlete endorser of Gatorade, which has been aiding him through the whole redemption and comeback process. He knows the importance of having a credible and trusted brand by his side to fulfill the big hydration requirements of such a demanding sport.
The Phenom has heard everything from doubters and naysayers as seen in the video below, but now he knows full well whom to trust to fuel his greatness.
"This is a whole new me. Now, I have no reason to be tired," he said. "I could tell that I'm in even better shape than before, just by the type of conditioning I'm going through. Kinailangan kong i-prepare yung sarili ko, na alam ko balang araw darating din yung August 24 na ili-lift din yung suspension ko at makakalaro talaga ako. Sabi ko, kailangan nakakasabay na ko sa mga ito so that's what I did."
Post-FIBA, Kiefer tried his hand at being a sports commentator again. "I wanted to see more basketball. Tinanong lang nila kung free ako and I just wanna try it out. Nag-enjoy naman ako," he said in a SPIN.ph article.
"Different siya. May mga gusto kang sabihin na di mo pwedeng sabihin," he added. Could this be the start of a new sports career for Kiefer? Perhaps not.
When Kiefer played his first PBA game after his suspension, he was quite excited to be back. "Sobrang excited, siyempre tagal nawala. Just happy to be with my team at nanalo," he said in another SPIN.ph article. "It's a good way to start the conference and for us, sana magtuloy-tuloy siya."