If Kiefer Ravena’s name is to be found in a dictionary, “leadership” would probably be the word that will be seen next to it.
The long-time Gilas Pilipinas playmaker, who has been one of, if not, the go-to leaders of every squad he’s been in, has also been serving the same role for his fellow Filipino imports in Japan despite them playing for different clubs.
“Syempre, responsibility, and at the same time, kailangan din talaga,” the Shiga Lakes guard said about his leadership duties during their media availability on January 12, while also adding that his fellow imports are also following suit.
“I feel like hindi lang naman ako ‘yung may initiative, marami din, nagtutulong-tulong naman kami,” Ravena said.
The older Ravena has been playing in Japan for more than two years already, and he has been one of the Filipino imports who pioneered playing in the Land of the Rising Sun, much like his younger brother, Thirdy.
This, according to the former UAAP MVP, has made him embrace the responsibility, especially since, amongst other imports, it would be him and his fellow Pinoys that would best understand their struggles that may come up.
“Being imports here, usually, kami-kami na lang magkakasama, so we just make sure that everybody’s in line with everything, okay lahat, mentally and physically,” the former NLEX Road Warriors point guard explained.
“Hindi naman siya time-consuming, and kilala niyo naman ako, mas gusto ko ma-make sure na okay lahat,” he added.
Another former UAAP star, Carl Tamayo, also vouched for Kiefer, saying that he himself has looked up to Ravena, and how he’s been handling being a reinforcement in Japan.
“Siya ‘yung pinakamatanda sa ‘min kaya marami po kaming natututunan sa kanya,” the one-time UAAP champion jokingly said.
“Pero, [maraming] words of advice kasi isa siya sa players na talagang naga-advise mula sa experience niya,” Tamayo added.
Going back to Kiefer, the SEA Games gold medalist said he would be more than willing to take charge of the leadership duties and serve as Gilas’ court general once more, especially if his services were needed.
“Kung tatawagin tayo, ‘tsaka kung mapapabilang tayo sa opportunity na ganon, bakit hindi?” Ravena said, as the Filipino hoopers would soon be participating in the FIBA Olympic qualifying tournaments later this year.
“Kung ano man ‘yung matutulong natin, bibigay natin ‘yan para sa national team,” he said.
“Hindi ko na ‘rin alam kung gaano ako katagal makakapaglaro, ‘tsaka makakapagbigay ng service sa national team, so ‘pag may ganon, syempre kukuhanin natin,” he concluded. (ABS-CBN News)