MANILA, Philippines – Kiefer Ravena admits that a near two-year suspension from basketball feels “painful and life-changing.”
But now that he has to deal with the consequences of what he described as an "honest mistake," Ravena hopes his experience could help prevent other Filipino athletes from committing the same lapse in judgment.
“Regrets, that's where we grow and that's where we learn,” said Ravena.
The Gilas Pilipinas guard will not see action in international play for 18 months as FIBA, the world governing body for basketball, suspended him after testing positive for prohibitive substances.
That means Ravena will not suit up for Gilas in the 3rd window of the Asian Qualifiers for the 2019 World Cup starting this June.
He will also miss NLEX Road Warriors’ upcoming games in the PBA as the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) waits for clarification from FIBA if Ravena’s suspension affects his professional career.
So for now, Ravena hopes to raise awareness on banned substances in sports among Filipino athletes.
“If I can be an instrument of this advocacy in the Philippines, I'll be open to helping other athletes avoid being in this position where I am right now,” Ravena told reporters after a press conference held by the SBP at the Launchpad Building in Mandaluyong on Monday, May 28.
“You have to be careful, you can't be too lackadaisical with the things that you purchase," he added. "I guess that's my biggest learning. You have to be really careful and really responsible.”
Kiefer Ravena says he doesn’t want to divulge the name of the pre-workout drink he took that led him to testing positive in WADA’s List of Prohibited Substances and being suspended by FIBA. He, however, clarifies that neither did he take shabu nor marijuana nor cocaine. pic.twitter.com/MfjrtZNdT7 — Rappler Sports (@RapplerSports) May 28, 2018
Ravena tested positive for Dimethylbutylamine, Methylhexaneamine and Higenamine, chemical compounds included in the World Anti-Doping Agency’s list of prohibited substances.
The substances were found in the 24-year-old’s system following a random drug test facilitated by FIBA after Gilas’ home game against Japan last February 25.
Ravena said he took a pre-workout drink right before the contest, unaware if there were prohibited substances in it.
He did not want to divulge the name of the drink, which he said is made available to the public and can be bought over the counter.
“Wala eh (Well), it's a pre-workout drink. Honest to goodness I didn't know,” Ravena added.
As he takes a break from basketball, at least professionally and internationally, the PBA rookie looks to stay in top shape.
“Siguro with my suspension mawawala na yung tiyan ko bago ako bumalik.”
(With my suspension, I can probably lose weight before I come back.) – Rappler.com
Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.