PBA Philippine Cup

NLEX aiming to ‘collectively’ fill void left by Japan-bound Kiefer Ravena

JR Isaga
NLEX aiming to ‘collectively’ fill void left by Japan-bound Kiefer Ravena

THREE IN A ROW. NLEX has been on a three-game winning streak even without Kiefer Ravena.

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NLEX will miss Kiefer Ravena for a significant amount of time as he headed to Japan to fix his documents for his one-season stint in the B. League

For the second time in two years, Kiefer Ravena is likely set to miss an extended period of time for the NLEX Road Warriors.

The 27-year-old guard is currently in Japan fixing his documents in preparation for his one-season stint with the B. League’s Shiga Lakestars, which makes his return to the PBA Philippine Cup bubble in Bacolor, Pampanga, complicated enough due to protocols.

As the Road Warriors have done before when Ravena was suspended by FIBA for 18 months, they are now preparing to do things by committee and fill the sizable gap left by one of their leaders early in the new bubble conference.

“It’s a bit difficult for me to fill in Kiefer’s shoes, but for my part, I’ll just do my role in the team and do what coach tells me to do,” said Jericho Cruz on Saturday, September 4. “Collectively, I think we can do it as a team.”

After blowing out the Phoenix Super LPG Fuel Masters, 94-76, for their third straight win, it is all going well for the Road Warriors, who are now in solo 4th place with a 4-2 record.

Cruz played his part in the second-half defensive shutdown of the Fuel Masters and finished with game-highs of 19 points, 8 assists, and 4 steals.

In line with the team’s mantra of collective effort, Raul Soyud fought through an ankle injury and finished with 17 markers on 8-of-9 shooting in just 18 minutes, while fellow bruiser JR Quinahan churned out 14 points, 7 boards, 3 dimes, and 2 blocks.

Without Ravena to lead the way in the near future, head coach Yeng Guiao is once again banking on his veterans to anchor the cause moving forward.

Malaking bagay si Raul galing sa sprained ankle. May pain pa nga, pero he played through the pain. Si JR is our steady influence sa team. ‘Pag nagkakagulo na kami, JR is there, just stabilizing the team,” he said.

(It’s a big thing having Raul from a sprained ankle. The pain is still there, but he played through it. JR is our steady influence. He stabilizes the team when we’re in disarray.)

“When the ball is in his hands, we’re confident that he’s going to make the right decisions. That’s how big he is, especially without Kiefer,” he continued.

Even without Ravena, Guiao can still bank on these steady stalwarts like Cruz, Soyud, Quinahan, Kevin Alas, and Don Trollano.

Their chemistry will be put to the test as the Road Warriors shoot for their fourth straight win next week. – Rappler.com

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