Guiao says NLEX veterans will fill void as Ravena departs for Japan
The Kiefer Ravena saga at NLEX in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) has been going on for quite sometime now that coach Yeng Guiao swears that the crack guard’s sudden departure for Japan to process his papers as an import in the B. League has hardly affected the Road Warriors’ morale moving forward in the Philippine Cup.
And Guiao also believes that with some crack veterans on the team, he will have someone stepping up to be the leader on the floor during rough times.
“It’s disappointing, sure. But the morale is still high among the players,” Guiao told the Inquirer over the phone, hours after Ravena left for the Land of the Rising Sun on Wednesday. “Because you know, this [talk of him playing in Japan] has been going on for quite sometime now, so everyone knows that somewhere along the way, this would happen.
“We just need to do the adjustments, mentally,” Guiao said.
Ravena will be gone for at least a month, as far as Guiao knows, considering the strict travel protocols of the two countries.
And with that, the Road Warriors would need to at least make the Final Four of the PH Cup for Ravena—granting that he comes home still in game shape after a 14-day quarantine in Japan when he gets there, and at least seven days here when he returns—to be able to play again.
Guiao admits that he will be losing his best player when the PH Cup is revived on Sept. 1 in Pampanga, although “Kevin (Alas) has been doing an excellent job and is playing well. He is also exercising his leadership on the floor for the team.”
Veterans JR Quinahan and Jericho Cruz are also capable of stepping up for the Road Warriors as leaders, Guiao said.
“We won’t be short in leaders out there,” Guiao said. “But like I said, he (Kiefer) is a big loss because he is our second-leading scorer, top assist guy and league-leader in three-point shooting. He is also our go-to-guy in crucial situations.”
The teams have already gone to Pampanga and are quartered in different places as the PBA seeks to play five days a week to finish the stalled elimination round as soon as possible.
Triple-headers on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays and double-headers on Thursdays and Saturdays will be played as the Magnolia Hotshots (4-0) and the TNT Tropang Giga (3-0) hope to pick up where they left off.
“I would like to express my great appreciation to the endorsements of Gov. Dennis Pineda and Cong. Dong Gonzales. They were of really big help,” said PBA commissioner Willie Marcial as the league finally cleared the last hurdle on its resumption by getting the go-signal from the Don Honorio Ventura State University’s board of trustees for its official games.
Weekly RT-PCR tests will be enforced by the PBA to adhere to strict safety protocols in Bacolor, with antigen testing to be performed at every playdate.
All concerned individuals will take their first test in Pampanga on Monday.
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