By Michael Angelo S. Murillo
FEARS of Gilas Pilipinas player Kiefer Ravena failing a doping test by FIBA were confirmed last night as the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas made the formal announcement.
In a press conference held at the TV5 Media Center in Mandaluyong City, SBP officials, led by President Al Panlilio and Chairman Emeritus Manny Pangilinan, relayed that Mr. Ravena was meted an 18-month suspension by FIBA after testing positive for three ingredients prohibited by the World Anti-Doping Agency.
The prohibited substances — 4-methylhexan-2-amine(methylhexaneamine), 1,3-dimethylbutylamine (DMBA), and higenamine — was found in the pre-warm-up supplement Blackstone Labs DUST Extreme that Mr. Ravena took prior to the Gilas game against Japan at the Mall of Asia Arena on Feb. 25, 2018 during the second window for the qualifiers in the 2019 FIBA World Cup.
Urine samples were taken from Mr. Ravena after and both turned out to be positive from the prohibited substances.
SBP was quick to say though that the said substances are not illegal in the country and can be bought over the counter but are prohibited under the WADA list.
The decision was handed down on May 22, stating that Mr. Ravena is ineligible to compete from Feb. 25, 2018, the date when the samples were taken, to Aug. 24, 2019.
SBP said it is still communicating with FIBA, seeking clarification whether the ruling also covers Mr. Ravena’s standing in the Philippine Basketball Association where he plays for the NLEX Road Warriors.
The basketball federation also said that games played by Gilas in the qualifiers where Mr. Ravena suited up in were not affected and would stay as is.
Gilas is currently sporting a 3-1 record in Group B of the qualifiers, second to undefeated Australia (4-0).
Mr. Ravena said the latest episode in his career is something to be learned from and he vowed to use it to help others be aware of what they take in their bodies.
“Main lesson here is not everything you can buy is legal. I take full responsibility for my actions and I’m going to use this to create awareness to be discerning in what you take,” Mr. Ravena said to members of media after the press conference.
For Mr. Panlilio, he said the episode is being taken seriously by SBP and viewing it as a “wake-up” call for all concerned to be aware of what are prohibited and what are not to avoid such thing from happening again.
“Ignorance is not an excuse,” said Mr. Panlilio, adding they are set to create awareness programs for athletes.
Speculation over Mr. Ravena being “in hot water” came out after he was hastily pulled out from the PBA All-Star Game on Sunday where he was to suit up for the Iloilo All-Stars reportedly as ordered by the SBP.