Kiefer Ravena embracing mentor role to Gilas guards

Published July 4, 2022, 12:13 PM

by Reynald I. Magallon

Gilas Pilipinas captain Kiefer Ravena has been embracing his role as the veteran leader in a youth-laden Gilas Pilipinas squad that features some of the country’s rising stars.

RJ Abarriento (left), Kiefer Ravena and SJ Belangel (FIBA Photos)

The 28-year-old guard said he is making a conscious effort to provide some guidance to the young guns especially RJ Abarrientos and SJ Belangel who followed his footsteps by taking their acts to the Korean basketball league.

“Carl, sina Dwight, RJ, SJ, the guards, I kind of took it upon myself to take them under my wings especially because both of them are going overseas. Every time na mag-usap kami through breakfast, lunch, or dinner, on and off the court,” said Ravena who was one of the catalysts in Gilas’ 79-63 victory over India at the Mall of Asia Arena on Sunday.

According to Ravena, he is letting both Abarrientos and Belangel lead the team, insisting that he is only there to guide and help the new breed of Gilas guards develop into a more complete floor leaders.

“Pinapabayaan ko sila to lead the team. ‘Yung pagiging captain ko, andiyan lang naman ‘yan eh, label lang naman ‘yan. Pagsasabihan ko lang sila, ganito nangyayari ngayon, paano niyo gagawin ‘to,” said the Gilas skipper.

“Parang, if somebody is taking a day off in practice, anong gagawin natin. Ganun lang yung role ko sa team. Pag kailangan na magstep-in, doon lang ako nags-step in but more or less, team naman nilang dalawa ‘to eh. I’m just out there guiding them,” Ravena stressed.

Both Abarrientos and Belangel played solidly at the point guard position for Gilas, providing pesky defense in the team’s backcourt pressure and superb playmaking skills on the offensive end.

Ravena also added that he has been liking the energy around the younger guys.

“Sarap kasama. Nagiging bata ako. Nakakatawa kasi every time nagfi-fill-up kami ng form, nakikita ko ‘yung teammates ko, born 2000, born 1999, may sumisingit na 1993 doon. Nakakatuwa kasi kasama pa rin ako sa process na pagiging better as a player, better individual, I’m willing to learn from these young men,” said Ravena.

“Magagaling ‘tong mga batang ‘to, sana magtuloy-tuloy lang dahil iba pa rin ‘yung magkakaedad kayo eh, pare-parehas ang trip, pare-parehas mahilig sa TikTok, malaking bagay ‘yun off the court for the chemistry. Nakiki-trending na lang ako sa kanila ngayon,” he added.