Kiefer Ravena joins Gilas Pilipinas practice
MANILA, Philippines — Nine days after wrapping up his illustrious collegiate career and two days after collecting his second UAAP MVP award, Kiefer Ravena is on to bigger things.
Ravena, who played his final year for the Ateneo Blue Eagles this UAAP Season 78, joined Gilas Pilipinas practice on Monday, November 30 at the Meralco Gym in Pasig. (READ: Kiefer Ravena shares MVP trophy with Kevin Ferrer)
The 22-year-old guard, who signified willingness to serve as practice player after Ateneo lost in the Final Four, was invited by men's national basketball team head coach Tab Baldwin.
Ravena said he and Baldwin had been in contact before and he offered his services to Gilas, which is currently practicing once a week but almost never as a full team due to rigors of the ongoing PBA season.
"It's something I really want to do in the future. I really want to be a part of Gilas," Ravena said Monday night. "But now I'm just an extra body here because they're preparing for something next year. Now I'm using this as preparation to get myself conditioned before we leave for Qatar.
"I want to work out with high-level competition. This is the cream of the crop already. I just want to experience that and hopefully it's something in the future I can be part of."
Ravena has long been a part of the Gilas cadet pool and won 3 gold medals at the SEA Games, including one with Baldwin this year on top of another gold from the 2015 SEABA Championship. He is set to compete along with La Salle's Jeron Teng and NCAA imports Ola Adeogun and Bright Akhuetie in a 3-on-3 tournament in Qater this December under NU Bulldogs coach Eric Altamirano.
During his time now with the nationals, Ravena intends to familiarize himself with the system and learn from fellow guards Terrence Romeo, Jayson Castro, LA Tenorio, and Paul Lee.
"Growing up, except for Terrence, I saw them play and I saw how they worked hard to get the status they're in right now. I want in the future as well to be one of them," he said.
"Hopefully this experience I can carry to whatever league or team I play for in the future."
Ravena, a two-time UAAP champion, is expected to make his transition to the pros next year through the PBA Rookie Draft.
In the meantime, he's happy to help out, expecting nothing in return.
"No expectations at all," said Ravena. "Just work my butt off and try to help the national team."
Ravena participated in a few drills taught by Gilas assistant coaches during Monday's short and light session in the absence of Baldwin, who is set to return from the US Tuesday, December 1. Baldwin flew to the States last week to attend to his brother who underwent an operation, according to assistant coach Jong Uichico.
Uichico presided over this week's training that lasted for a little less than an hour as the Gilas pool did not conduct scrimmages.
Several players sat out practice including Romeo and Jeff Chan, who had to rest following weekend PBA games. Chan also said he is resting back spasms that have acted up.
Castro did not join in as well as he similarly nursed back spasms that have been nagging him for almost a week. He missed Talk 'N Text's last 4 practices.
Sniper Marcio Lassiter also sat out due to groin and hamstring injuries he has been playing through since early this month. He did not join San Miguel Beer's practice Monday.
Ryan Reyes did not attend at all due to fever. Ian Sangalang also missed his second straight practice, but Uichico said he did not know the reason for Sangalang's absence.
Paul Lee and Ranidel De Ocampo continue to recover from knee and back injuries, respectively. — Rappler.com
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