ILOILO CITY - Kiefer Ravena's fans are left waiting with equal parts concern and anticipation for an announcement from the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) after the rookie sensation skipped the PBA All-Star Game on Sunday night and headed back to Manila on short notice.
Ravena, who traces his roots to this southern city, joined the All-Star festivities on Saturday and was relaxed enough to play golf with Visayas All-Stars coach Nash Racela and Gilas team manager Butch Antonio at the age-old Sta. Barbara layout the morning of Sunday's game.
However, the NLEX rookie never got to the San Agustin Gym for the showcase.
Hours before the game, PBA commissioner Willie Marcial told mediamen here that the former UAAP MVP has been ordered to return to Manila by SBP officials, who were to hold a press conference any time on Monday for an announcement supposedly involving Ravena.
So what it is about?
Marcial is tight-lipped, and so are SBP officials. Antonio, who was in this city for the game, said he has no idea since the prescon was arranged by officials in Manila.
Most speculations point to Ravena getting a late call-up for the Philippine team to the Fiba 3x3 World Cup next month, supposedly as a late replacement for either Stanley Pringle of GlobalPort or Christian Standhardinger of San Miguel.
However, netizens correctly saw no need for Ravena to miss the game as a 'precautionary measure' since two other members of that team - Troy Rosario and Roger Pogoy - played for the Gilas side in the game which the Visayas All-Stars still won, 157-141.
With no news coming out of the PBA or SBP camp, anticipation turned into anger for some fans who felt pulling out Ravena from the All-Stars was a disservice to the fans who paid good money for tickets, expecting the NLEX star there.
Even if Ravena was needed for a morning prescon, SBP could've allowed him to play and ordered him to take an early flight out of Iloilo instead, other netizens said.
Pressed for comment, officials later admitted Ravena's recall had 'nothing to do' with the team competing in the Fiba 3x3 World Cup set to begin on June 8 at the Philippine Arena in Bulacan.
Another official was more blunt: the development merited Ravena leaving immediately for Manila.