Mighty Sports coach Charles Tiu admitted that adding former UAAP Most Valuable Player Kiefer Ravena is a big risk, but believes the advantages outweigh the seeming disadvantages as the team prepares to leave for Singapore early Tuesday morning to participate in the Merlion Cup.
Tiu expects the six-foot Ravena to join the team’s practice on Tuesday at 3 p.m., where the latter will have to learn the system quick before Mighty Sports plunges to action against the Seoul Samsung Thunders the next day at the OCBC Arena.
“Yes it’s a risk to be honest (to tap Ravena), but hopefully, it will pay off more than backfire, because still he’s Kiefer,” Tiu told FOX Sports on Monday.
The former Smart Gilas assistant coach said he has known the son of former PBA wingman Bong Ravena for nearly 10 years and is confident that the “Phenom” can deliver in the six-nation Singapore cage joust.
“I’ve coached him before in two tournaments at Mighty and I’ve known him for a long time, maybe eight or 10 years, so I hope we can get on the same page and that he fits in to our team,” he added.
Ravena played under Tiu when Mighty Sports bagged the 2016 Republica Cup last February. Mighty Sports then placed second behind Jumbo Plastic in the second conference of the PCBL last May, which had Ravena and Perpetual Help import Bright Akhuetie as the leaders of the team.
Tiu said the former Ateneo Blue Eagle will be coming from U.S. where he is fresh from a workout with the Dallas Mavericks and the Texas Legends in the NBA D-League.
The Thunders are no easy picking though, especially since the team will be bannered by former Star Hotshots import Ricardo Ratliffe and several players from the South Korean national team.
However, Tiu said instead of just centering on what Ravena can bring, Tiu stressed how important it is to see his other local players step up, particularly Joseph Yeo, who was loaned to Mighty Sports by GlobalPort.
“I really have a lot of confidence on our local players. I really hope they learn to trust one another and Joseph, since he practiced with us, you can tell why he’s still one of the stars in the PBA because he plays at a high level,” noted Tiu, brother of Rain or Shine guard Chris Tiu.
Tiu is also hopeful that imports Al Thornton, the former Los Angeles Clipper forward, 2016 William Jones Cup MVP Dewarick Spencer and defensive anchr Hamady N’Diyae could jell quickly with the rest the locals that included former Gilas naturalized player Marcus Douthit. – Richard Dy
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