Former Ateneo star Kiefer Ravena is giving the NBA his best shot.
After starring in the UAAP, Ravena is now playing for the Texas Legends, the D-League affiliate of the Dallas Mavericks, hoping to work his way up the ranks to become the first Philippines-born player to make it to the NBA.
“It’s a tough league,” Ravena told Balitang America in a phone call. “Competition is really high. So I guess it’s just all up to me to control whatever I can control, and that is playing hard every game and giving my best, and we’ll see what happens.”
While the two-time collegiate MVP could be competing in the PBA, he has decided to instead work without compensation in the D-League.
He says it’s been a difficult sacrifice, especially the part that involves being away from family and adjusting to life as an OFW.
“Going home alone. Trying to cook your own meal. It’s different, but, you know, that’s the way it is, and I’m trying to adjust to it, and so far, so good,” he said.
Ravena is one of the Legends’ two developmental players, meaning he’ll spend the season practicing with the team and strengthening various parts of his game.
“Being a point guard, you have to be able to see the floor well, pass the ball, shoot open shots, and I guess that’s the one thing I’m trying to improve on,” he said.
Once the season ends, the 23-year-old hopes to play in the NBA Summer League, make the Legends’ active roster, and get called up by an NBA team.
“My goal is to really make it to the NBA,” Ravena said. “It might be a long, tough road, but I’m willing to go through it. I know I have my family, I have the Filipinos who will be able to support me and cheer for me whatever happens.”
He also has the support of Cleveland Caveliers champion Lebron James, who recently sent Ravena shoes and a letter that told the Pinoy baller to never give up on his dream.
“You want to become the first Filipino player to make it to the NBA,” the letter from James says. “Don’t let the dream go.”