WHETHER prized guard Kiefer Ravena would be able to make his NLEX return in the coming PBA Philippine Cup remains uncertain, but Road Warriors coach Yeng Guiao maintained his team is ready to go.
"Actually, ano na kami, medyo buo na. The pieces are already there," said Guiao Monday. "We're ready to go, kahit wala si Kiefer."
Ravena still has to get the formal green light from the PBA on whether he would be allowed to return to the NLEX team he abandoned to play in the Japanese B League last year.
Part of the arrangement Ravena was allowed to leave was that he would return after his contract in Japan has expired and play out at least the season-opening Philippine Cup that kicks off on Sunday.
Speaking in Monday's Pre-Season presser at the Conrad Manila, NLEX Governor Rod Franco said Ravena's contract with the Shiga Lakestars has already lapsed and he and his agent are already talking with Road Warriors management.
According to PBA commissioner Willie Marcial, he is still awaiting the results of such talks. "Hinihintay lang namin kung ano desisyon ng NLEX at tingnan natin kung ano consequences noon, kung ano napagkasunduan nila," he said.
"Ano muna desisyon nila. Ilang conference? Dire-diretso ba o babalik ulit siya sa Japan after one conference?"
Guiao revealed Ravena is already practicing with NLEX since the point guard returned from his recent stint with Gilas Pilipinas in the Vietnam SEA Games and he would definitely be a big boon for the Road Warriors should he be able to play.
"Kung makakabalik si Kiefer, kumpleto na talaga kami," stated Guiao. "Pero big question mark pa rin iyon, eh. Ang laking bagay ni Kiefer."
Even with Ravena leaving midway in the eliminations of the Philippine Cup last year NLEX managed to make it as far as the quarterfinals of the conference, a feat Guiao feels his team would be able to reprise with the return of Calvin Oftana, Tony Semerad and Raul Soyud from injury and into peak form.
"Fully healthy na lahat, maliban kay Matt (Nieto) na around 80 percent pa lang," said Guiao of the former Ateneo and Gilas standout who suffered a calf injury in the last Governors Cup semifinals duel with eventual champion Barangay Ginebra.
"Of course, with Kiefer, lalo kaming magiging kumpleto," offered Guiao.
"Pero maganda na ang itinatakbo ng team. It's now a matter of translating that into the real game." (NC) (PBA)
(Photo credits to: Philstar)