Yeng Guiao knows Kiefer Ravena will return to NLEX, buts asks: ‘Kailan?’
Kiefer Ravena’s arrival appeared to pay dividends for Shiga as they ranked 1st in B. League’s West division standings with 5 victories against a lone defeat.
The 27-year-old guard helped his team snatched multiple close wins as he continues to provide leadership during close games for the young Lakestars.
In a 95-72 lopsided win over Kyoto last Sunday, Ravena didn’t need to play much. Instead, he was on the bench cheering on his teammates.
NLEX coach Yeng Guiao felt less surprised that his former player brought the Shawn Dennis-mentored squad to higher levels with his intelligent plays.
“Alam naman natin Kiefer is an experienced baller internationally,” said Guiao.
“Kasama ko siya sa World Cup, kasama namin siya one year before that. Nag-training kami sa Spain, sa Europe, sa iba’t ibang windows ng World Cup,” he added.“So it did not surprise me that he would do well in Japan kasi kabisado niya naman ‘yung laro.”
“And because of his talent, he can easily adjust to any situations,” said the 62-year-old mentor.
Last season, the Lakestars were close to the bottom of the B.League’s table with a 23-36 record. With Ravena, they have won 5 out of their 6 games so far this season.
“I have not watched a full game ni Kiefer, but I can see the clips, and makikita mo talaga ‘yung role niya doon sa team niya. He’s becoming a key player, he’s becoming a lynchpin in their rotation,” said Guiao.
The Filipino import is averaging 11.2 points on 45.5% shooting from the field to go along with 5.0 assists, 2.3 rebounds, and 1.83 steals in just 25 minutes of playing time.
Ravena’s departure was definitely detrimental for the Road Warriors.
Before heading to Japan, the 1st overall pick of the 2017 PBA Draft was the leader in almost every category for the Road Warriors, norming 15.8 points, 6.5 assists, 3.8 rebounds, and 1.8 steals in four games played. He was also shooting a career-high 42.3% from beyond the arc.
“You must remember nung nawala si Kiefer, he was leading the league in assists and he was also leading the league in three-point percentage.” Guiao stated. “Yun ang hindi namin napunuan agad.”
Ravena, though, must return to the country after his stint in the Land of the Rising Sun. Part of his agreement with the PBA is that he can’t renew with the Lakestars otherwise he will face a heavy penalty from the league.
It is also possible that Shiga will come to Ravena’s aid if and when the need arises.
That’s why Guiao is feeling anxious as it could take a long time for the former Ateneo Blue Eagle to return to his PBA team.
“Baka matagalan bago makabalik si Kiefer. ‘Yun ang nakaka-nerbiyos eh,” said the former Rain or Shine coach.
“Committed siyang bumalik. Ang tanong, kung kailan.”