MANILA, Philippines – Which side will get its way?
Kiefer Ravena and NLEX have yet to agree on a contract just days before the PBA opens its 47th season on June 5, with the Road Warriors determined to keep their prized guard for at least one year.
Ravena, though, does not intend to stay in the Philippines that long as he plans to play only one PBA conference before he returns to the Japan B. League.
The Philippine Cup will finish the latest in September, just in time before the next B. League season kicks off in October.
“We made him an offer. Now the ball is on their court. It is up to them now to agree to the offer or not,” NLEX head coach Yeng Guiao said during the PBA Media Day on Thursday, June 2.
“He is asking to play for the All-Filipino conference, but the management made a counteroffer for him to play at least one year.”
Ravena is back in the country after concluding his rookie season in the B. League with the Shiga Lakestars.
In 56 games with 26 starts, the do-it-all guard averaged 13.2 points on 42% shooting to go with 5.8 assists, 2.4 rebounds, and 1.5 steals.
Ravena is set to play a second year for the Lakestars, but instead of waiting for the next B. League season, he eyes a PBA comeback presumably to fulfill the agreement he struck with the league.
The PBA initially said Ravena cannot play in Japan due to his live contract with the Road Warriors before the league eventually relented on the condition that he goes back after one B. League season.
Sanctions await Ravena if he fails to deliver on his promise to the PBA.
“Our support for Kiefer is unquestioned because even if he had a contract with us, we still let him play in Japan,” Guiao said.
“The fact that he was not beholden to his contract, that in itself already says something about our desire to look for his personal development.”
Despite the contract stalement, Guiao commended Ravena for showing his desire to suit up for NLEX again by way of attending their practices regularly.
“We appreciate his sincerity to come back and play for us because he is always there even if he does not have a contract,” Guiao said.
“He is not afraid no matter what happens to him. We cannot guarantee him the benefits of a player who is under contract, but he is still there. He is still playing for us, he is still practicing hard.” – Rappler.com