by Nick Giongco
Kiefer Ravena is eager to make up for lost time when he finally attends his first practice since being handed an 18-month suspension by FIBA after testing positive for banned substances last year.
Ravena will take part in Gilas Pilipinas’ preparation for the FIBA World Cup at the Meralco Gym where he’ll be able to train without any limitations before his lengthy ban ends on Aug. 24.
The NLEX guard was suspended in May 2018 when FIBA found prohibited substances that came from a pre-workout drink Ravena took during the World Cup Qualifiers.
FIBA’s punishment meant that Ravena was even disallowed from attending team practices or even watch basketball games as a spectator.
“This experience has made me tougher, hungrier and a lot wiser,” Ravena said on Saturday as part of a lengthy message to his followers on Twitter.
“It’s a long and crazy process but we’ll go through it again together every step of the way,” added Ravena, who had spent the past few months working out on his own in preparation for his return.
There’s a chance that Ravena may be included in the World Cup slated Aug. 31 to Sept. 15 in China but coach Yeng Guiao said that possibility will depend on what shape he’ll be in by the Gilas arrives in Foshan for the group stage.
But his presence may be needed more than ever with Gilas dealing with shortage of players in practice and veteran internationalist Jayson Castro begging from the World Cup.
Castro, a Gilas fixture since 2013, has decided to skip the World Cup to spend more time with his family, adding that will be a chance for the young guys to step up.
NLEX is also set to welcome Ravena with open arms when it resumes practice on Tuesday at the FCL Gym in Quezon City.
The Road Warriors are taking a Monday off after facing Barangay Ginebra San Miguel the other night in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup in Batangas City.
Ravena won’t be making his PBA comeback until the start of the season-ending Governors’ Cup in mid-September.