By Jerome Lagunzad

One of the country’s amateur standouts appears determined to finally take his talents to the pro ranks.

Barring any change of heart, former two-time UAAP MVP winner Kiefer Ravena is expected to throw his hat in the coming PBA Rookie Draft, nearly two years after finishing a decorated collegiate career with Ateneo.

“‘Yung (pagpanhik sa) PBA, pinag-iisipan ko na. Kasama na siya ngayon sa mga plans ko,” said the 6-foot Ravena following the Gilas cadets’ two-hour training session at the Meralco gym in Ortigas, Pasig City.

If plans don’t miscarry, Ravena, who will turn 24 by October, should be considered as one of the top picks in the annual pro league draft where he could be joined by long-time collegiate rival Jeron Teng of La Salle, former National University star Ray Parks, and San Beda’s Fil-Am gunner Davon Potts, among others.

“Dati wala pa siya sa plano ko pero ngayon 50-50 na talaga,” added Ravena who is also keen on “covering all the bases” before making the big jump.

“Kailangan lahat plantsado. Kasi once na mag-commit ka na, ‘yun na ‘yun. Habang buhay na ‘yun. Iniisip ko lang na ma-cover lahat ‘yung bases bago pa man ako mag-decide. ‘Yung mga priorities ko – on and off the court– plus the people around me who’s been with me throughout my career. ‘Yun ang importante sa’kin ngayon.”

Ravena should have ample time to contemplate about his immediate future and prepare himself better for tougher battles ahead after seeing limited action with Alab Pilipinas in the ABL last March and with the Texas Legends in the NBA D-League last year.

Tapped by Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes to carry the country’s tricolors in this August’s SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Ravena could also see action in the annual R. William Jones Cup cage tiff in Taiwan late this month.

And Ravena is eager to make the most of his latest opportunity.

“Malaking bagay itong dalawang tournaments na sasalihan namin kasi matagal-tagal rin na hindi ako nakapaglaro. Nu’ng sa Alab, dalawang laro lang naman ako. Kaya malaking bagay ‘to sa akin to get the feel of how the competition is and will be in the PBA,” he said.

And so far, Ravena is getting what he’s been craving for with the help of his fellow Gilas cadets, most of them are now PBA players.

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