KOBE Paras and Ricci Rivero led several basketball personalities who threw their support behind Kiefer Ravena after the Gilas Pilipinas mainstay was suspended by Fiba for 18 months after testing positive for banned substances.
Paras and Rivero posted #WeStandWithKiefer hashtags on their Twitter account to express their support to Ravena, who explained that a pre-workout drink he took before a Gilas game during Fiba World Cup qualifying last February led to the failed doping test.
“Always going to support you no matter what, chief,” Paras, who played alongside Ravena at Gilas Pilipinas both in 3x3 and the five-a-side game, wrote on his IG story.
Several former teammates from his days with the Ateneo Blue Eagles and current teammates of NLEX have also posted a graphic of Ravena that contained the words “We Stand With Kiefer” that quickly spread online.
From all the messages, that of Alaska assistant coach Jeffrey Cariaso was the most heartfelt.
“Take a second and look how @kieferravena is handling this challenge in his life. Admission. Explanation. Acceptance. Advocacy. Proud of you Kief. This, too, shall pass. Nothing but love and respect for you,” Cariaso, a former national player, posted on his Twitter account.
Gilas cadets coach Jong Uichico said he has no doubt that Ravena will be able to bounce back from adversity.
“A young man of tremendous character. No doubt in my mind you will fly higher after this @kieferravena!” wrote Uichico.
Far Eastern University athletic director Mark Molina said Ravena “deserves the benefit of the doubt” for all the contributions he has done for Philippine basketball in his career.
Alab Pilipinas team owner and player Charlie Dy hopes the incident will be a lesson to the basketball community in the Philippines.
“It can happen to any athlete that’s why it’s important to educate everyone to be careful with what they’re taking. That’s why I always remind my players to know what they’re taking since the time I was coaching. Then as team manager before of Batangas Blades and now handling Alab Pilipinas, I have to make sure I have the best coaches, conditioning coach, physical therapist and staffs,” said Dy.