By Adrian Stewart Co
While NLEX Road Warriors has no opposition with Kiefer Ravena’s stint with the Shiga Lakestars in Japan’s B. League, it has to abide by the rules of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA).
The Road Warriors said it supports the former Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles star’s desire to follow his dreams of playing overseas but it has to be bound by the league’s Uniform Player Contract (UPC).
“We understand and support Kiefer’s desire for personal advancement. However, as a member of the PBA, we are duty bound to abide by the rules and regulations that govern the league,” the Road Warriors said in a statement.
“The NLEX Road Warriors stand by the tripartite agreement between our organization, the PBA, and the individual player, which is enshrined in the Uniform Player Contract,” the team added.
The UPC is a standard contract between the player and a team and it does not have an exit clause making Ravena’s move to Japan iffy even if he and the Road Warriors agree to it.
On Wednesday, the Lakestars announced the signing of the 27-year-old Ravena under the B. League’s Asian Player Quotas and they plan to introduce the Ilonggo player in a press conference on Monday.
However, PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial said that Kiefer’s dream to follow the footsteps of his younger brother Thirdy Ravena in the B. League is impossible since the former is still under contract with the Road Warriors.
“(Kiefer) informed me about it (playing for the Lakestars in the Japan B. League) last Tuesday kaso ang sabi ko sa kanya ay hindi pwede,” Marcial said in a media interview on Wednesday.
Kiefer’s entry could be an added boost to the Lakestars, which missed the playoffs in the 2020-2021 B. League season after finishing 13th with a 23-36 record despite being reinforced with former NBA player Jordan Hamilton.
This will not be the first time that Kiefer opted to go overseas to pursue a basketball career after signing a developmental contract with the Texas Legends in the NBA D-League in 2016. He, however, failed to make the team’s final roster./ASC, WDJ