KIEFER Ravena had his first taste of competitive basketball as an official member of the NLEX Road Warriors on Thursday.
Proving his mettle, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2017 PBA Rookie Draft stood at the forefront of the Road Warriors' attack in a tuneup game against Hong Kong Eastern at the FCL Center.
But with most of the veterans sitting out, NLEX dropped an 85-98 decision against the in-form visiting squad bannered by PBA top pick Christian Standhardinger and Tyler Lamb.
After the match, the son of former PBA cager Bong said he is still trying to get the hang of playing with his new teammates that include backcourt partner Kevin Alas, Asi Taulava, and Alex Mallari.
"First game as part of NLEX... Talo, but you know, a lot to improve on, on my part and the team's behalf," he said.
"Talagang when it comes to the PBA, talagang kailangan ready talaga lahat to contribute, but we're far away from where we want to be and what to expect this conference."
His value for the Road Warriors was validated hours later as he signed a max contract worth approximately P8.5 million at the team's office in Makati.
"Well, I'm very happy. I'm very happy to be in a franchise where it wasn't really hard to negotiate," he said.
"I'm very, very happy with what NLEX gave me, and more than the contract, it's the honor to play for a franchise like NLEX. It's part of the MVP group, and it's something na I'm looking forward to begin already, na makapag-PBA na."
The former Ateneo star will have the chance to prove the management did the right thing in offering the lucrative contract when the 43rd season unfurls on December 17.
By then, Ravena expects the resurging Road Warrios already found their groove.
"We'll be ready by December 17," he said.