THERE are a lot of things running through Kiefer Ravena’s mind at the moment, but he couldn't forget the fans from his hometown of Iloilo who he felt he let down by missing out on the PBA All-Star Game on Sunday night.
The NLEX star was voted as one of the starters for the Visayas All-Stars in the showpiece match against Gilas Pilipinas. He was already there attending functions on Saturday and even played a round of golf at the age-old Sta. Barbara layout on the morning of the game.
Hours before the match, he was summoned back to Manila by the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP).
“In a way nag-paasa ako. Andun ako the whole time and di ako nagpakita nung All-Star,” said Ravena, still gutted about the non-appearance. “I was voted as one of the starters, and hindi rin naman mura ang ticket tapos hindi ako nagpakita. I wasn’t able to fulfill my job as an All-Star.”
It turned out the pullout was precautionary given the PBA All-Star game is a ‘basketball-related activity’ that could be viewed as an infraction against the doping ban which Fiba handed out on May 22 - or five days earlier.
SBP officials also moved frantically to hold a press conference on Monday, afraid that Fiba may beat them to the punch on an announcement.
For now, Ravena is just being very careful about not violating any more sanctions given that he feels the world basketball body has treated him fairly on the issue.
“FIBA has been very lenient, 'yun na nga nabawasan na yung sintensya, baka pag pilitin ko na ganun, baka mapatagal pa or mapasama pa. With the help of (PBA) commissioner Willie Marcial, we’re working hand in hand and we’re doing our best to make it easier for me and everybody,” Ravena said.
That, however, hasn't eased the feeling that he let down fans after missing his first opportunity to play in front of his fellow Ilonggos as a pro.
“It was really hard for me and it was the first time I was supposed to play in front of my fellow Ilongos and it was cut short with what happened. Hopefully, di mawala yung suporta nila sa akin. I have to tell them that their support is very much appreciated especially in these times,” said Ravena.
“Hopefully the people in this recent PBA All-Star week, humihingi ako ng pasensya sa kanila. It’s a very tough week for me, more than what is happening, it’s tough to leave them hanging especially in Iloilo.”