Ravena father and son face-off, Jericho Cruz set for debut in crucial NLEX-TNT match
Kiefer Ravena and the Road Warriors face TNT assistant coach Bong Ravena and the Texters for the first time in the Philippine Cup. Jerome Ascano

FAMILY ties are going to be set aside on Wednesday when NLEX and TNT KaTropa battle in a crucial PBA Philippine Cup matchup at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Father and son face off as Kiefer Ravena, the Road Warriors rookie sensation, meets Texters assistant coach Bong in a matchup between sister teams at 4:30 p.m.

“Excited syempre first time,” the younger Ravena told SPIN.ph on the eve of the game. “Tapos medyo big game pa for both kasi sa amin, we want to enter the quarters with a win, sila naman to have a chance to enter, kaya big game talaga.”  

Running fourth in the standings at 6-4, the postseason-bound Road Warriors are seeking a victory that will secure their spot in the Top Six and a place in a best-of-three series instead of a twice-to-win disadvantage against either of the top seeds, San Miguel Beer and Magnolia.

The Texters, on the other hand, are tied for ninth spot at 4-6 and in a must-win situation in their last game of the eliminations to clinch at least a playoff for the eighth quarterfinal spot.

So don’t expect father or son to give an inch – at least on this night.

“Ganoon talaga, professional na tayo,” Kiefer said back in October in his first interview as a pro, moments after his name was called as the second overall pick in last year’s draft. “You’d have to take it professionally and do my best to help my team win.”

In another type of family affair, Jericho Cruz is set to make his TNT debut after being acquired from Rain or Shine two weeks ago, facing former ROS coach and the mentor he wanted to reunite with, Yeng Guiao. 

Cruz provides the Texters another option in a shallow wing rotation that has Roger Pogoy, Anthony Semerad, and Ryan Reyes.


“We just hope he helps us with our depth issue,” TNT coach Nash Racela said on Tuesday. “Jericho will definitely be an extra guy we could use in our rotation.”

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos