Kiefer Ravena's absence a 'temporary setback' for NLEX, says Guiao
MANILA, Philippines – Even without rising star Kiefer Ravena, life goes on for the NLEX Road Warriors.
NLEX needs to dig deep in its rotation as it tries to remain relevant in the 2018 PBA Commissioner's Cup sans the services of Ravena, who was slapped an 18-month suspension by FIBA after testing positive for banned substances.
Since FIBA's suspension on the 24-year-old extends to "all leagues and activities," he will not suit up in NLEX's upcoming games as he awaits clarification whether the sanction also affects his professional career.
Ravena's absence adds to the backcourt woes of the Road Warriors, who are also missing spitfire guard Kevin Alas due to a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).
Despite losing two of his best players, NLEX head coach Yeng Guiao remains steadfast.
"We will continue to be competitive without Kevin and Kiefer. It's a temporary setback but we will keep on trying to win as many games as we can and see where it takes us," Guiao told Rappler through text.
The Road Warriors, following a historic semifinals apperance in the Philippine Cup, have recently been on a slump, losing 4 of their first 5 games in the mid-season conference. (READ: Kiefer Ravena finds silver lining in ‘painful and life changing’ suspension)
Ravena had been the silver lining for the team by submitting averages of 17.2 points, 4.0 rebounds and 5.6 assists per game.
But with Ravena now reduced to a spectator, Guiao hopes his other wards rise to the occasion starting today, May 30, as the Road Warriors clash with the Blackwater Elite, who are seeking their first win after a 6-game skid.
"We will make use of who we have left. Hoping they step up under the circumstances," Guiao said.
"Kiefer and Kevin's absences have a profound effect on us as a team but our purpose is to keep playing as hard as we can and draw strength and inspiration from their absence."
Leading NLEX are import Arnett Moultrie and veterans JR Quiñahan, Larry Fonacier, Cyrus Baguio and Alex Mallari. – Rappler.com