Kiefer Ravena hopes to fulfill lofty expectations without taking any shortcuts after the second pick of the PBA Rookie Draft officially signed a contract to play with the NLEX Road Warriors in the coming season.
Stints with the national team, the ASEAN Basketball League and in the recent FIBA Champions Cup during the two-year period have cemented Ravena's readiness to play in the big leagues. His selection by NLEX will see him deal with the learning curve under fiery mentor Yeng Guiao.
Team Governor Ramoncito Fernandez declared the former Ateneo star as NLEX's franchise player following Wednesday's contract signing at the Metro Pacific Tollway Corporation office in Makati City witnessed by company executives, team officials and Ravena's parents Bong and Mozzy.
Though flattered with the description, Ravena would rather think of how to make his team better once he makes his debut for the PBA's 43rd season which starts Dec. 17.
"It's a long way to go for me to be one of that. When the time comes, I'll be glad to accept that role," Ravena said. "But for now, I'll be happy to do anything I can to help the team win."
Ravena's pro entry has been long-anticipated not only by his many followers but also basketball fans after playing his last season with Ateneo two years ago.
"Yung experience na natutunan ko internationally, hopefully I can be able to bring it out sa NLEX," said Ravena, who is eager to make NLEX gain significant strides after a quarterfinal appearance in the Governors' Cup - the first since Guiao was hired before the start of last season.
Ravena is expected to form a backcourt tandem with the improving Kevin Alas while creating more depth in the roster composed of JR Quinahan, Alex Mallari, Juami Tiongson and Cyrus Baguio.
"One of the missing pieces of our quest for excellence has been a franchise player, and Kiefer will definitely bring that to the team," Fernandez said. "We're looking forward to his leadership, to his high-basketball IQ and to his team being a team to watch." (JT)