Guiao expects Kiefer to make immediate impact for NLEX


Kiefer Ravena (center) was taken by NLEX with the second pick of the PBA Rookie Draft. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA, Philippines – Yeng Guiao is confident that it will not take a long time before Kiefer Ravena fully adjusts to life in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA). 

Guiao and NLEX took Ravena with the second pick in the top-heavy 2017 PBA Rookie Draft, and made it clear that he expects the former UAAP star to shine for the Road Warriors immediately.

“He is an immediate impact player,” Guiao said in an interview with ESPN 5. 

Ravena underscored his readiness to jump to the professional league with a scintillating display in the two-day Combine a week before the draft.

“He is a very intelligent player who will fit right into our system,” the famously fiery coach added. “He is a winner; he’s a go-to guy.”

Ravena’s scoring abilities are well established, averaging 16.3 points for Ateneo de Manila University over a five-year career. In Season 77, when he won the first of two MVP trophies, he led the league with 21.2 points per game.

During stints in the Jones Cup and the FIBA Asia Champions Cup, however, Ravena showcased another facet of his game – his playmaking ability. 

Guiao believes that these skills will allow Ravena to flourish in the PBA, and in the process, help make NLEX a better team.

“He can make others look good,” said Guiao of Ravena. “He will make the team better, because he’s the type of player who will make the right decisions during the game.”

For Ravena, it was a dream come true to simply hear his name called, especially in the presence of his family at Robinson’s Place Manila on Sunday.

“Pangarap ko ito, simula bata pa (ako), and na-fulfill ko rin ‘yung dream ng dad ko, to be a second-generation basketball player,” said Ravena in a TV interview upon being drafted.

Ravena first burst into the scene as a high school phenom who played with a maturity beyond his years, and he is approaching his impending PBA career in the same calm manner.

“Maganda na ‘yung pinakita ng NLEX last conference,” Ravena told ESPN 5. “Hopefully, with that momentum, I can contribute to extend the season even longer.”

“My goal is to help NLEX win a championship, no matter how long it takes. Hopefully, I play for them for a long while to get that goal,” he added.

In NLEX, Ravena figures to form a potent backcourt combination with Kevin Alas and Carlo Lastimosa. The team also added sweet-shooting Gab Dagangon, do-it-all swingman John Grospe, and hardworking forward Felix Apreku later in the draft.

(For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.)

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