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Future bleak for Ravena

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by Jonas Terrado

A cloud of uncertainty hovers above Kiefer Ravena, at least for the unforeseeable future, as he begins dealing with the consequences of an 18-month suspension handed by world governing body FIBA for testing positive for three banned substances during the World Cup Qualifiers last February.

The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) recently sent a letter to FIBA seeking clarification on whether the suspension will also cover Ravena’s stint with the NLEX Road Warriors in the PBA, thus leaving plenty of questions regarding his budding career.

FIBA had said that Ravena is banned from all basketball-related activities but SBP feels Ravena deserves a chance to continue his pro commitments.

NLEX sat out Ravena, beginning in Wednesday’s match against Blackwater at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, to avoid possible complications. It was the same reason that prompted the SBP to pull him from the final leg of the All-Star Week in Iloilo City last Sunday.

“We’ll to be honest, the rules are very clear that all leagues and activities,” said SBP president Al Panlilio. “But our prayer is that since it is Kiefer’s livelihood, if he can be allowed to earn a living. I think he has suffered enough and he has been very honest and very candid in the process.”

The PBA has yet to test players regarding banned substances, a procedure that may be done beginning next season, though it had sanctioned players who tested positive for illegal drugs such as marijuana and shabu in the past.

PBA chairman Ricky Vargas, hinted, though, that the league will likely abide with the FIBA directive given it’s status as member of the SBP and having five representatives on the board.

For now, Ravena, with help from the SBP, has centered his focus on taking part in an advocacy campaign to spread awareness of his experience.

“I should be the instrument for athletes to learn and see that not everything you can buy over the counter maybe legal,” said Ravena.

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