Kiefer Ravena could skip Gilas 5.0 to pursue NBA dream

Former two-time UAAP Most Valuable Player Kiefer Ravena could skip Gilas 5.0’s campaign in next month’s FIBA Asia Challenge as he plans to pursue his dream of playing in the NBA.

The son of TNT assistant coach Bong Ravena said his US-based agents are already setting him up for several workout with NBA teams.

“Plan ko is to continue my training here in the States. I’m working out here to prepare myself into the next level,” Ravena told FOX Sports during his break from US training on Wednesday.

“I’m working with my agent over here in the States and they were able set me up with NBA team workouts.”

Ravena is currently being handled by Patty Scott, chief executive officer of East West Private.

He’ll be the second biggest name outside the PBA, who’ll skip Gilas if ever. On Wednesday, Bobby Ray Parks left for the US to continue his NBA dream chase, following his stint with Gilas in the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Manila last month.

Ravena, now in Oakland, California, played in the prestigious Drew League as a last-minute addition to the Reapers team over a week ago. The Drew League is the no.1 Pro-Am league in the world, established by Alvin Willis in 1973.

It has been graced by past and present NBA superstars led by Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce among others.

Days later, he played against the likes of NBA veterans David Lee and Dorell Wright in one of the Air West’s pick-up games in Los Angeles, California. Air West hosts the best open gym in LA where the pros come to play by invitation only.

“Siguro I’m just fulfilling my dream of also playing in the NBA,” shared the 22-year-old Filipino guard, known in college by his moniker, “the Phenom”.

“Wala naman masamang mangarap. Sinusunod ko lang din yung dreams ko kasi hindi ko na alam kung kelan ko pa magagawa ‘to o kung magagawa ko pa,” explained the former Ateneo star.

For some basketball fans and even critics, his attempt to play in the NBA may be next to impossible, but the six-foot Ravena said he simply wanted to make the Filipinos proud.

“It’s a long shot pero gusto ko din may ipagmalaki yung Pinoy sa NBA,” he said.

“Blessed lang ako with the opportunities in front of me kaya gina-grab ko talaga yun at hindi sinasayang.”

Ravena was actually in Manila last June as part of the Gilas Pilipinas pool under coach Tab Baldwin that was preparing for the FIBA OQT.

He became one of the last few cuts. From there, he decided to continue his training in the United States.

“With Gilas, actually, when coach Tab told me I had to be home for the team, I went home right away and I was there during the first day of training kasi i really wanted to help the team,” explained Ravena.

“I wanted to see where I was at that time also in terms of being ready to compete with the best. Kaso ayun nga, hindi sinwerte makuha kaya I continued my training here in the States.” – Richard Dy

Follow this writer on Twitter: @richava