NLEX’s Guiao upbeat on Ravena

By Denison Rey A. Dalupang

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Kiefer Ravena during the PBA Draft Combine | Philstar.com/Denison Rey Dalupang

MANILA, Philippines — Kiefer Ravena has yet to fully rep NLEX in a PBA game, but he’s already reaping praises from his head coach, Yeng Guiao.

“I’m seeing good things [from] him,” the Road Warriors head coach told Philstar.com.

While Ravena is coming off a tour of duty with the national team, Guiao, who said he’s “trying to make (Ravena) feel how it is in the PBA, and at the same time get him into the (NLEX) system,” lauded the 2017’s second-overall pick’s swift ability to adapt into the pro level of the game.

“We’re seeing positive things. Matalino naman siya,” Guiao said of his new ward. “Naiintindihan niya ang concepts namin, madali niya ma-absorb.”

During that exchange, Guiao and the Road Warriors were coming off a win over the gritty Alaska Aces in PBA’s preseason action at the Upper Deck Gym in Ortigas. Ravena played for less than 20 minutes, netting nine markers on a four-of-10 shooting.

But that limited time on the floor, according to Guiao, was part of an effort to take good care of his prized find.

“I didn’t want to over-extend him,” the fiery coach said. “I’m giving him some break from the Gilas chores. Slowly naman madadagdagan playing time niya. I’m just trying to be conservative. I don’t want to risk him to injuries at the same time, I want him to recover from (the national team duties).”

In that low-key tussle, NLEX scored a come-from-behind win. Guiao noted that the Road Warriors were able to pull the rug on the Aces when Ravena was paired with the veteran Asi Taulava. That combination, the tough-talking mentor added, is something they will likely use in the coming PBA season.

“Being able to combine the old and the new, find a good combination, I think that's our objective. It's a conscious effort … we're trying to find that balance,” he noted.

“On one hand it's the experience and maturity, on the other hand it's the youth and aggressiveness. We're trying to find everything that can help us. For us, it's the combination of the veterans and the young guys,” Guiao closed.

Guiao will get to know if his tactic yields returns when the PBA season kicks off this December 17. NLEX’s first assignment is Kia at the San Juan Arena on December 20.

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