Filipino basketball players

‘Basketball is not forever’: Kiefer Ravena ‘saddened’ with Navarro SBP-KBL issue

JR Isaga
‘Basketball is not forever’: Kiefer Ravena ‘saddened’ with Navarro SBP-KBL issue

Kiefer Ravena and Will Navarro during their stints with Gilas Pilipinas


Japan B. League import and Gilas veteran Kiefer Ravena joins the fans' and players' chorus for the release of Will Navarro to the Korean Basketball League

MANILA, Philippines – Japan B. League star Kiefer Ravena joined the chorus of his fellow Filipino imports amid the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas’ (SBP) controversial blocking of Will Navarro’s transfer to the Korean Basketball League (KBL).

Ravena – himself a chief figure in a separate contract issue between the PBA and the B. League – said that he is “saddened” by the development and that Navarro and the SBP can hopefully come to mutually beneficial agreement sooner rather than later.

“At the end of the day, you just want to make the best out of your career. Basketball is not forever, and things like what happened is sad. Hopefully, we’re all praying for Will and we’re behind his back,” Ravena said.

Navarro was all set to join the KBL’s Seoul Samsung Thunders as a part of a six-player Filipino contingent that includes reigning NCAA MVP Rhenz Abando, former Alab Pilipinas guard Ethan Alvano, ex-CSB standout Justin Gutang, FEU star rookie RJ Abarrientos, and Ateneo champion playmaker SJ Belangel.

However, the SBP refused to clear the 6-foot-6 forward, citing a standing contract with the Gilas Pilipinas national team that puts Navarro’s rights exclusively with PBA team NorthPort for its duration. Thus, FIBA was forced to deny the Korean Basketball Association’s (KBA) request for clearance.

This move was met with an overwhelmingly negative reception from Filipino fans and players alike, including the Pinoy KBL imports and Australia National Basketball League (NBL) rising star Kai Sotto.

As for Ravena, he is just hoping that all sides find a resolution quickly, since Navarro barely ever gets deployed with the national team and has not even suited up at all for NorthPort in the PBA.

“The younger generation of basketball players – they are the future. They’re just looking for means and ways to decide what’s best for their career, whether it’s in the PBA, KBL, or here in the B. League,” said the longtime Gilas captain.

“Hopefully, there’s still time that they can fix something where he can be able to show his talents and represent the country in Korea for Samsung. It’s going to be good for everybody.” – with a report from Lionel Piguet in Japan/

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