MANILA, Philippines – Although their Japan B. League campaign has hit a rough patch recently, the Shiga Lakestars are nonetheless making winning moves much bigger than basketball for their Filipino fans to start off the new year.
Through the initiative of their import guard Kiefer Ravena, the Lakestars have launched their own donation drive on Sunday, January 2, for the victims of Typhoon Odette back in the Philippines.
After the Lakestars lost badly to the visiting Akita Northern Happinets that same day, Shiga coach Luis Guil Torres still had time to praise his ward for his efforts to help his home country’s hardest-hit areas in Visayas and Mindanao.
“I think it’s very good because Kiefer is not only a very good player, but a very good guy,” he said after the game.
“I think that’s implicated in all the things he’s encountered, and the Shiga Lakestars organization is helping him try to help the people who are having a very bad moment in the Philippines.”
Ravena, a proud son of typhoon-stricken Iloilo City, manned the Shiga home arena donation booth before the Akita game, and offered various ways to raise money, including straight cash gifts through Unicef, and auctions for game-worn shoes.
“I would like to thank my Shiga Lakestars family for putting this up. I appreciate all the efforts, and I hope to see the Filipinos out there,” he said in a pre-recorded video being shown by the booth.
“Let’s all help our kababayan (compatriots) who have been affected by the typhoon, so they can rise up, and go back to their normal lives. Thank you very much, and see you guys there.”
Ravena will return to man the booth, and dish out his off-court assists one more time before the Lakestars’ Monday, January 3 rematch at 1:05 pm, Manila time. (READ: Kiefer Ravena: Loving the Lakestars life)
Since its onslaught, Odette has been named one of the deadliest and costliest typhoons in Philippine history.
As of posting, more than 400 people have died, around 80 people have been reported missing, and more than P39 billion of damage have been assessed, making Odette the third-costliest Philippine typhoon behind Yolanda in 2013 and Pablo in 2012. – with a report from Lionel Piguet/ Rappler.com