When 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 who can orchestrate the offense of the team instead of being a scorer, which is a departure from his usual role in college.
The adjustment, according to former PBA player Paolo Mendoza, will be a breeze for Ravena.
“I don’t think Kiefer will have a problem,” said Mendoza. “He’s very talented and he has a very high basketball IQ. He will not have a hard time adjusting.”
Mendoza played college ball for University of the Philippines and terrorized opposing teams in the UAAP as the top scorer of the Fighting Maroons with his deadly outside touch.
When he joined the PBA, however, as the No. 1 overall pick of Sta. Lucia Realty in 2000, 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 Magsanoc, his former teammate with the Realtors, who came to his aid, allowing him to play the position for 12 years.
“At first nahirapan ako, but I was lucky enough that I had Coach Norman my mentor Ronnie Magsanoc,” said Mendoza, now in the construction business while serving as coach of the UPIS Junior Maroons in the UAAP.
“Because of them, napadali yung adjustment ko,” he said.
Basketball these days, Mendoza said, has no more structured positions, meaning it no longer has a traditional five – center, two guards and two forwards, including one that plays the point.
The guards now, like Ravena and his NLEX teammate Kevin Alas, are both capable of running the plays for the Road Warriors and still be dependable scorers for Yeng Guiao.
“Ganun na talaga ngayon; 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 point guard, lalo na under siya sa magaling na coach.”
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