“Out of the scene ako ng medyo matagal dito sa Philippines and this can be a great comeback for me kasi Pilipinas yung nire-represent ko.” — Kiefer Ravena on his latest SEA Games stint with the Philippine national team.
Sure, he’s only 23 years old and he’s not even in the PBA yet but when it comes to the Southeast Asian Games, Kiefer Ravena is a seasoned veteran.
Named to be a part of the Gilas Pilipinas team that will see action in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for the biennial tournament, Ravena will officially go for his fourth SEA Games gold come August.
That fact almost gives Kiefer the license to take over as the team’s one true leader and it’s pretty clear that he’s going to do just that.
“Siguro ako na yung pinakamatagal sa SEA Games [in terms of] experience. Kung ano yung pinaka-kulang namin nung 3×3, at least madala ko dito sa SEA Games,” Ravena said Tuesday after Gilas practice.
“Yun yung madadala ko at the same time yung leadership also, knowing these guys, they’re not too vocal. They’re leaders in their own right but yung sa magsasabi, yung magiging vocal about it, I think I should step up with that,” he added.
One of the final cuts for Gilas Pilipinas that played i nthe 2016 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament, Ravena cherishes his return to the national team, saying that now is the time to prove that he’s a better version of himself compared to a year ago.
“Of course. yung mga ganung lessons, it’s something you really take into heart and motivation na you were cut, but someone better replaced you. National team to eh. Someone was probably better sayo at that time,” the former two-time UAAP Champion with the Ateneo Blue Eagles said.
“Very thankful sa opportunity na binigay ni coach Chot. Just trying to work hard and repay yung trust na binigay niya sakin tsaka dun sa mga nakuha sa team,” he added.
Lost in the Philippine basketball scene after he went to the United States to chase his NBA dream, Ravena looks at his return to a Gilas uniform as a way to re-introduce himself to Filipinos who may have forgotten about his game.
Leading the country to yet another SEA Games gold medal seems like the perfect comeback for Kiefer.
“Out of the scene ako ng medyo matagal dito sa Philippines and this can be a great comeback for me kasi Pilipinas yung nire-represent ko,” he said.
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