BATANGAS CITY, Philippines – Yeng Guiao counts on Kiefer Ravena to take over the point guard reins from Jayson Castro for Gilas Pilipinas in the 2019 FIBA World Cup.
Castro will not be donning the national colors in the global hoops showdown to focus on his family, and Guiao expects a familiar face in Ravena – who plays for him at NLEX in the PBA – to help fill that void.
“For me, as of now, he is the most logical choice to fill up the slot of Jayson,” Guiao said of Ravena in a mix of Filipino and English after NLEX fell prey to Barangay Ginebra in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup on Sunday, June 23.
Still serving his suspension imposed by FIBA after testing positive for banned substances, Ravena may raise some concerns regarding his fitness for his keenly awaited basketball return.
But Guiao trusts it will only take a matter of time before Ravena transitions into the role waiting for him at the Philippine team. (READ: Kiefer Ravena ‘tougher, wiser’ heading to basketball return)
“I saw that he wasn’t careless with his body. He’s going to be probably a little out of shape or of timing but my guess is it will take a short time for him to recover from where he left off when he was suspended,” Guiao said.
“I’m not worried about him actually. I have no worries about Kiefer. He’s going to be competitive and he’s going to be ready for the World Cup.”
Ravena returns to practice for the first time as he joins Gilas’ buildup on Monday, June 24 – exactly two months before his 18-month suspension ends.
He will be accompanied by PBA rookies Robert Bolick and CJ Perez, who were both included in the World Cup pool. – Rappler.com