KIEFER Ravena makes his return to the PBA on Saturday as NLEX opens its Governors’ Cup campaign against Phoenix Pulse at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Gametime of the Petron Saturday Special match is at 4:30 p.m.
Ravena will be playing his first game in the PBA since May 16, 2018 when he scored a team-high 29 points in NLEX’s 116-94 loss to GlobalPort at the Big Dome. Weeks later, Fiba issued an 18-month suspension against Ravena for ingesting a banned substance during the World Cup qualifiers.
More than his return to competitive basketball in the PBA, Ravena said his focus is to help the team win games. The Road Warriors reached the semifinals of the Philippine Cup in Ravena’s last full conference with the team.
“Wala na kaming excuse,” Ravena said. “We are almost complete. Tapos na ‘yung national team. Si Kevin (Alas) na lang ang kulang. Sabi nga ni coach Yeng, we have no excuse for this conference. Hopefully, we can reach our expectations.”
Fresh from a stint with Gilas Pilipinas in the Fiba Basketball World Cup, Ravena said he has been doing all the work even shortly after the China stint.
“Parehas naman kaming pagod, ‘yung coaching staff pagod kakaisip ng gagawin,” Ravena said. “We still have to be present at work. I want to make the team feel na I’m ready to go back right away kahit pa galing sa Fiba World."
Ravena said he has already moved on from the disappointment of losing all five games in the Fiba Basketball World Cup.
NLEX coach Yeng Guiao said he is looking forward to this conference after the Fiba Basketball World Cup campaign.
“I don’t harbor negative feelings. I don’t get too emotional. I guess after a few days, it’s back to normal. Nagrereset ‘yan for a different purpose, this time, it’s for NLEX to make a good showing next conference. Just keep moving forward,” said Guiao.