Bong Ravena was a member of the 1991 Philippine men’s basketball team back when the country was still fielding in amateur players to represent the country in the Southeast Asian Games.
A product of the University of the East in the UAAP, Ravena was called up to play along with several amateur standouts at that time. Among them include Johnny Abarrientos, Vergel Meneses, Vic Pablo, Jun Limpot, and Marlou Aquino among others.
Francis Rodriguez coached the squad to a gold medal finish and would win it in front of our home crowd.
Nearly three decades later, his son, Kiefer Ravena, would win his latest SEA Games gold medal here and just like his dad, the younger Ravena is cherishing this special moment.
It was the fifth gold medal won by Kiefer and while his dad would only win one, the significance of winning it right before the eyes of their countrymen makes it truly special.
“It’s significant because he won it at home. I know the feeling. I was once in his shoes and I told him to grab that opportunity,” the elder Ravena told FOX Sports Philippines.
Playing in the SEA Games this year wasn’t planned for the younger Ravena. In fact, he was not included in the original pool selected by Tim Cone.
His entry only became possible when Jayson Castro got injured and Ravena, the only young player in the line-up, became an exception.
“Kiefer is probably the youngest guy in the line-up, but he’s the most veteran in terms of playing in the Southeast Asian Games,” said Cone. “Plus the fact that Kiefer played here without hesitation. He was not chosen in the original pool, but he has no problems when we asked him to join the squad as a replacement for Jayson Castro.”
For the younger Ravena, daddy knows best.
“My dad told me na since I’m already here, I have to contribute with the national team. Yung opportunity na ito hindi para sa lahat,” added Kiefer.
In the end, it was all worth it for the young Ravena, a fifth SEA Games gold medal won right in front of fellow Filipinos.
“It’s important. It’s a privilege to be part of this program. This one is a little bit special because I didn’t expect to be part of this one. Now, I got my fifth gold medal (in the SEA Games) and hometown pa. If this is my last SEA Games, what a way to end it playing in front of our countrymen,” said Ravena.
Photo credit from Retro PBA Facebook