Kiefer Ravena still looking fit in return to hoops practice

Kiefer Ravena is back in practice after a lengthy ban in all basketball activities. Ivan Saldajeno
By Ivan Saldajeno

PASIG—When Kiefer Ravena was slapped with an 18-month ban by FIBA, it included everything basketball, from playing, practicing to even mere spectating.

Early into the suspension, fans noticed him slowly gaining weight, especially when he was hosting the NBTC 24 YouTube show.

But right in his first practice since the ban, Ravena looked too fit to even make a comeback game by this time.

"It's just like he was not suspended," NLEX and Gilas Pilipinas Men coach Yeng Guiao said on Ravena. "His sharpness and stamina are there. He does not look like he's heavy. That's his natural body."

In a separate interview, the six-foot combo guard said that it was all part of his plan.

"I told you I’ll surprise a lot of people on how I’ll look and how I’ll play. I’ll continue to prove that. I won’t stop from here. This is just the start," Ravena specifically quipped.

While his ban will end by Aug. 24, he was cleared to join practice two months prior to the end of the sanction, making him eligible to rejoin training by Monday, the day Gilas returned to practice at the Meralco Gym.

"I’m ecstatic to be around coach Yeng and the coaching staff, expand my knowledge of the system that I already know, and most importantly, be around this team and be around my teammates, first time or maraming beses ko nang nakasama," Ravena said on what he felt ahead of his return to basketball.

So how was he able to be in game shape on Monday night despite the long break?

"It was just a lot of working out by myself. Really regulating my diet," Ravena answered.

He added that during the suspension, he got a regular amount of sleep, was able to learn how to recover correctly, and was just drinking water as beverage.

"To be honest, simula nung nasuspsend ako, di pa ako umiinom ng kahit anong liquid na may kulay," Ravena further said.

Now that the "traumatizing event" is about to end, Ravena looks forward to his first official game back, which will very likely be Gilas' FIBA World Cup debut against Italy on Aug. 31 in Foshan.

But being in Gilas practice alone in his first basketball activity since the ban is already satisfying enough for him.

"I’m just happy to share the court with these folks again," Ravena quipped.

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