MANILA, Philippines – NLEX’s second preseason game was a bit of a struggle for rookie Kiefer Ravena, as he was held in check by a physical Rain or Shine squad at the Upper Deck Gym in Pasig City on Tuesday.
Ravena had 14 points, but made only four of 12 shots – all of them three-pointers.
While he was able to get to the basket, he had trouble finishing against the burly Rain or Shine frontline; he also committed six turnovers in what turned out to be a 96-89 loss for the Road Warriors.
“It’s a learning process,” said Ravena, the No. 2 pick in the 2017 PBA Rookie Draft, after the game. “These are the moments where you learn and try to adjust, and react to whatever type of defense or offense we’re running.”
“It’s just a matter of time before we really get a hold of what we’re trying to do,” he added. “I’m pretty sure it will come.”
NLEX head coach Yeng Guiao was not surprised to see his celebrated rookie labor against a Rain or Shine team that featured several big guards. He pointed out that while Ravena had plenty of experience playing in the national team and even abroad, the PBA remains an entirely different league.
“Kailangan, makapag-adjust pa rin siya,” said Guiao, who held a prolonged post-game discussion with his squad after they blew an 11-point halftime lead against his former team.
Still, Guiao does not foresee a lengthy adjustment period for the former Ateneo star. Indeed, he predicts that by the time the season starts, Ravena will already be playing like a seasoned PBA player.
“It’s not going to be very difficult for him,” Guiao said of Ravena. “Palagay ko, by opening day, he would have adjusted to our system.”
“He’ll be playing like a veteran by the time we play our first games,” Guiao predicted.
Ravena and the Road Warriors will try to bounce back tomorrow, when they take on Phoenix in another preseason game.
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