PBA board convenes amid concern over Ravena ban's repercussion on league, Gilas
PBA officials, for sure, aren't too happy losing Ravena, one of the league's most popular players and top draws, for the next 18 months. Jerome Ascano

THE PBA board is set to convene in a special board meeting on Thursday, specifically to discuss the scope of the league's participation in the formation of a Gilas Pilipinas team to the coming Asian Games.

It will likely end up tackling a more pressing problem now confronting the league.

Insiders bared Kiefer Ravena's doping suspension from Fiba will be raised during the board meeting, if only to assess and address its repercussions to the league and its participation in the national team.

Ravena, 24, tested positive for three banned substances during a Gilas game against Japan during the second qualifying window for the 2019 Fiba World Cup last February.

He was subsequently banned for 18 months from 'all basketball-related activities' by the world basketball body, a decision that could jeopardize the career of one of the PBA's fastest-rising stars.

The ban also presents a dilemma for the PBA, which runs random tests only for recreational drugs and has no sanctions for the banned substances that got Ravena in trouble with Fiba.

Although the PBA is part of Fiba by affiliation by virtue of its connection with the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP), where it currently holds six seats in the board, Ravena has, in fact, not broken any league rule to merit a suspension.

Aside from that, PBA officials, for sure, aren't too happy losing Ravena, one of the league's most popular players and top draws, for the next 18 months.

A dilemma over the ban may have been avoided since NLEX - which is part of the MVP group that also runs the SBP - has expressed its willingness to honor theĀ  Ravena ban in the PBA.

But what if a player from a team outside the MVP umbrella is involved?

"That's the problem," said one PBA insider who asked not to be named. "What if another player which the PBA loaned to Gilas tests positive and is imposed a similar ban? Will his team agree to let him serve out the ban in the PBA."


There are also fears that Ravena's ban may discourage other teams from loaning players to the national team in the future, for fear that they may end up in a similar situation.

"That's a real danger since a lot of PBA players are using pre-workout drinks like the one that got Kiefer in trouble," said one league coach.

As it is, PBA players who are part of the Gilas pool are doubtful of being available for the team bound for the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia due to a conflict with the PBA schedule.

The coming Asiad runs from August 18 to September 2.

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