WE all know that Kiefer Ravena is staying one more year at Ateneo, where he will try to lead the Blue Eagles to another championship in his farewell season after two title-less years.
But few people are aware that staying one more year in college may forever alter the course of Ravena's career beyond college, more so if the 'King Eagle' hopes to land in one of the three PBA teams owned by longtime Ateneo basketball patron Manny V. Pangilinan.
You see, MVP-owned teams Talk 'N Text, NLEX and Meralco hold the rights to no less than five first-round picks in the coming PBA rookie draft - meaning five opportunities to grab Ravena if he decides to skip his final season with Ateneo and jump to the pro ranks.
From those five first-round picks, Talk 'N Text owns Blackwater's pick which is projected to be the No. 1 overall while Meralco, which coincidentally is coached by Ravena's longtime college coach Norman Black, holds the GlobalPort pick which is likely to end up at No. 3 overall.
Those are two golden chances to grab Ravena in the draft, even if the coming rookie pool will be deep with the presence of Fil-Tongan big man Moala Tautuaa and Bobby Ray Parks.
But if Ravena skips this season's draft as he plans to and turns pro in 2016, in all likelihood he will end up with the MVP camp's fierce rivals.
Well, the San Miguel Corp. organization, at last count, already owns four first-round picks in the 2016 draft through San Miguel Beer, Star Hotshots, and Ginebra.
Here are the list of teams holding first-round picks in 2016:
1. NLEX (from TNT)
2. San Miguel (from NLEX)
3. GlobalPort from Meralco
4. Rain or Shine
8. Star Hotshots
10. Barako (from San Miguel)
12. Star (from Globalport)So the premise is if Ravena doesn't turn pro this year, it is unlikely he'll end up at the MVP camp by 2016.
With the dilemma, Spin.ph tossed the question to Pangilinan: Does he prefer Ravena to stay one more year at Ateneo, even if it will likely mean missing out on a chance to grab him in the PBA?
“It’s not for me to decide. It’s Kiefer," came the businessman-sportsman's answer. "It’s up to Kiefer and Ateneo."
But pressed on what his advice to Ravena if the college star seeks his advice, Pangilinan said: “If I will be asked, I will suggest to him that he stay with Ateneo one more year because we need him to play, obviously we want Ateneo to (win another title).
“Dapat mauna yung kanyang (studies), Ateneo na muna, he is still a student,” MVP continued.
When asked if he is not worried that the rival San Miguel Corp. may end up grabbing a player the MVP camp has nurtured since high school, Pangilinan took a moment before shaking his head.
“Ay… I don’t know,” said the soft-spoken tycoon. “Focus na muna siya sa Ateneo. Estudyante pa siya eh.”
View video of full interview with Manny V. Pangilinan: