by Jonas Terrado
Games Tomorrow (Smart Araneta Coliseum)
4:30 p.m. – Columbian vs Meralco
7 p.m. – Ginebra vs Blackwater
NLEX coach Yeng Guiao is confident that Kiefer Ravena can get back into his old form once he completes an 18-month suspension imposed by FIBA last year for testing positive for banned substance.
Ravena’s suspension will end on Aug. 24 in time for the opener of the season-ending PBA Governors’ Cup in mid-September but is allowed to join the Road Warriors practice beginning June 24 under the terms of the FIBA ban.
The 25-year-old has spent the few months building his body in preparation for his return, even posting a photo of himself on social media following a recent training session at the gym.
“Yung batang yun pag nag-decide siya na magpakundisyon siya, nakakapagpakundisyon siya,” Guiao said.
“Napakataas nung will power niya so kung gugustuhin niya, kakayanin niya (His will power is so high that he has the capability of getting in better shape),” he added.
Ravena was suspended in May 2018 during the height of the PBA All-Star Week after FIBA found him positive for banned substances that contained in a pre-workout drink.
The Road Warriors have been sorely needing Ravena since his ban as they have struggled to find consistency at the backcourt position.
Kevin Alas remains out after suffering a second ACL injury during the Philippine Cup, forcing Guiao to ask more from the likes of Bong Galanza, Philip Paniamogan, Juami Tiongson and Kenneth Ighalo.
NLEX opened its Commissioner’s Cup campaign at presstime against TNT KaTropa with Guiao looking to improve on its quarterfinal showing in the Philippine Cup.
The TNT match is the first of a rigorous stretch of four-game in 10 days for NLEX.
The Road Warriors will be paraded by import Curtis Washington after ex-Star Hotshots import Tony Mitchell failed to arrive during the pre-tournament buildup.