After a FIBA ban cut his PBA rookie year short, Kiefer Ravena finally made his long awaited return to Philippine basketball on Saturday, helping the NLEX Road Warriors clinch a 123-116 victory over the Phoenix Pulse Fuel Masters.
With fellow Gilas Pilipinas guards CJ Perez and Robert Bolick posting impressive numbers in their respective Governors’ Cup debuts, the 25-year-old Ateneo product joined the fray and produced a complete game of 20 points, nine rebounds, seven assists, and three steals.
Ravena was a tad overeager in his first PBA game in 18 months, as he only shot 35 percent from the field (6-for-17). Bulk of those points came from distance, as he went 4-out-of-10 from three. Ravena came out hot and knocked down all those treys in the first quarter alone — setting the tone for the Road Warriors who went on to drain 20 three-pointers.
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He also made the most of his trips to the foul line and missed only one of his five trips.
The two-time UAAP MVP did most of his scoring in the first half, knocking in 14 of his 20 points in the first 24 minutes. Ravena focused on facilitating coach Yeng Guiao’s offense in the final two quarters, connecting on seven of NLEX’s 30 total assists.
Even with the ball in his hands for majority of possessions, Ravena also protected the ball nicely and only committed two turnovers in 33 minutes of action.
It’s quite too early to tell but if his first game back is any indication, Ravena appears to have shaken off all the rust from his lengthy hiatus from basketball.
NLEX, meanwhile, looks to bounce back in this year’s season-ending tournament, especially after placing in 9th place in the Philippine Cup and ranking dead last in the Commissioner’s Cup.
(Image from PBA Media Group)