A time to rise | Inquirer Sports

A time to rise

Ravena looking to reboot his career as end of Fiba ban draws near
/ 05:06 AM June 30, 2019

Time dilation, as explained by Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, refers to the difference of elapsed time when measured by two observers having different frames of reference.

It explains why a clock above the earth’s atmosphere will move a minute fraction of a second slower over a certain time period than a clock resting on the earth’s surface.

And it may compute for why 18 months can merely breeze by certain people but can feel like an eternal wait for someone like, say, Kiefer Ravena.

“You get to notice even the littlest of [life’s] details,” said the 25-year-old NLEX star in the PBA, whose rookie year was wiped out by a Fiba (international basketball federation) ban slapped on him for unwittingly ingesting banned substances. “You get to see the bigger picture that has been in front of you when you take a step back. Your perspective becomes much wider. You don’t have to get up to see it all. You now get to see what’s been on your periphery all this time.”

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Ah, time.

Eighteen months without basketball, without the life Ravena dedicated himself to, was so tough, he began counting down the days to when he could actually start to practice.

“In 33 hours, My story will continue once again,” he posted on Twitter. There are still two months to go before he can suit up for an actual game. But practice counts. Like time, everything about basketball is relative.

On the day he was cleared to join practices, he woke up too early to hit the Gilas Pilipinas pool training that he decided to do what he always did during his ban. Fire up YouTube.

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“I think I woke up at around 4:30 a.m.,” he told the Inquirer. “When I opened YouTube, the first thing on my recommended list was the 2017 draft.”

That was when he was picked second overall by NLEX. And just a few months after that, he would pack up his bags and leave the PBA All-Star festivities after a Fiba test revealed the presence of substances listed in the World Anti-Doping Agency’s 2018 Prohibited List in his system, all because he foolishly took a health supplement without checking the ingredients.

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Banned from any basketball-related activity, Ravena turned to golf.

“It’s such an underrated sport,” he said, adding that the sport widened his understanding of life.

“There’s this one quote relating to it that I got to live by ever since I got suspended,” he said. “In golf, you get bad breaks from good shots; you get good breaks from bad shots. At the end of the day, you have to play from where the ball lies.

“That is exactly what happened to me. I got suspended and I [had to] play the cards that I was dealt. 18 cards, man. Every month, I had to take out one slowly but surely. Now I’m left with just two cards and finally, I’d be able to raise my hands and competitively play the game I love once again.”

And there was no point during that wait that he backed down from the truth.

“All this, I faced as a man,” he said. “I never tried to [say I was] clean … after I dirtied my name, tainted the image I had been building since I was in college.”

Soon, he will not only get to rebuild that image, he will also get to reboot his career.

And while the competitive itch burns, Ravena is making do with practice sessions with NLEX and the national team—and having fun with gentle reminders from life, like timely YouTube clips popping out on his recommendations feed.

“I just went on with my day after seeing that clip,” he said. “And now, this.”

This, meaning the Gilas practice that had just wrapped up.

“It was all right,” he told reporters who checked on his first serious practice after Gilas’ training that night. “I’ve never done this for nearly 18 months.”

As of this writing, there are 54 days left before his reactivation. He has melted his milk tea belly, gotten back in shape and has slowly found his court sense and timing. But nothing can quench Ravena’s desire for competition.

“I got the sport taken away from me. I got my livelihood stripped off of me. At the end of it all, it was me who lost the most,” Ravena said. “It has been a roller-coaster ride for me. Finally we’re here.”

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The laws of relativity may not fully explain why counting down those 54 days will be agonizing for Ravena.

TAGS: Kiefer Ravena, NLEX, PBA

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