by Waylon GalvezWhen the NLEX Road Warriors made Kiefer Ravena the second overall pick in last Sunday’s PBA Rookie Draft, basketball observers see the prized guard as someone that can orchestrate the offense of the team, away from his usual role in college as the main scorer.
The adjustment, according to former PBA player Paolo Mendoza, shouldn’t be a problem for Ravena.
“I don’t think Kiefer will have a problem,” said Mendoza in an interview with Bulletin-Tempo. “He’s very talented and he has very high basketball IQ. He will not have a hard time adjusting.”
The 5-foot-11 Mendoza played college ball at the University of the Philippines and terrorized opposing teams in the UAAP as the top scorer of the Fighting Maroons with his outside shooting.
When he joined the PBA, however, as the No. 1 overall pick of Sta. Lucia Realty during the 2000 Rookie Draft, Mendoza had to alter his game from shooting guard to point guard of the Realtors.
Mendoza said the transition was hard during his first few years.
It was then Sta. Lucia coach Norman Black and Ronnie Magsaboc, his former teammate with the Realtors, who helped him make the adjustment, allowing him to play the position for 12 years.
“At first nahirapan ako, but I was lucky enough that my coach then sa SLR was Norman Black, and ang naging mentor ko si Ronnie Magsanoc,” said Mendoza, who now has a construction firm Supremo Lex and is currently the coach of the UPIS Junior Maroons in the UAAP.
“Because of them, napa-dali yung adjustment ko,” added the now 39-year-old Mendoza.
Basketball these days, Mendoza said, is position-less, meaning it’s no longer a traditional five that plays together with a center, two forwards – one wingman and a power forward – and guards, a shooting or scoring guard and a point that orchestrates the offense.
The guards now, like Ravena and his new NLEX teammate Kevin Alas, are both capable of running the plays for the Road Warriors but will be dependable scorers for coach Yeng Guiao.
“Ganun na talaga ngayon ang basketball e, sa NBA nakikita natin yan, and sa PBA halos ganun na din. Talagang multiple positions na ang kayang laruin ng players,” Mendoza said.
“Kaya si Kiefer, magagamit niya yung pagiging scorer niya sa PBA, and at the same time, makaka-adjust naman siya sa tingin ko playing the point guard, lalo under siya ng magalng na coach,” he added.