Guiao satisfied as Ravena impresses in basketball return
MANILA, Philippines – In his first game back, Kiefer Ravena quickly impressed Gilas Pilipinas coach Yeng Guiao.
Ravena – who returned to the hardcourt following his FIBA suspension that restricted him from playing for more than a year – played his first competitive basketball game with the Philippine team on Sunday, August 25.
And he even turned out to be the silver lining when Gilas Pilipinas absorbed a 75-85 defeat to the visiting Adelaide 36ers after putting up 11 points, 2 rebounds, and 1 steal in just 17 minutes of action.
"I'm happy. I'm satisfied. I'm impressed, actually. It was his first game but it was already impressive," Guiao said of Ravena.
Concerns were raised whether Ravena was in optimal form for the FIBA World Cup due to his ban, but he barely looked like he didn't play competitive basketball for the last 14 months.
With the Filipinos trailing 13-29, Ravena singlehandedly trimmed their deficit to single digit by scoring 7 straight points in a span of two minutes.
Ravena scored his first bucket – a wide-open layup – off his own steal before sinking a three-pointer during a fastbreak and a baseline jumper.
"Actually, I was thinking of putting him back in the endgame, but I said I'm just going to save it for later because I was already happy with what I saw," Guiao said.
Guiao also praised Ravena for making an impact on the team even when he is not playing.
"[T]he good thing about Kiefer is he's not just contributing on the floor, he also contributes off the floor. Even as young as he is, he is well-respected and considered as a leader of this team already."
Named in the final 12-man lineup for the World Cup, Ravena is expected to get even better as the Philippines take on Italy, Serbia, and Angola in Group D. – Rappler.com