It seems like fans will have to wait a long time before they see The Phenom back on the court in the PBA.
After Kiefer Ravena was slapped by FIBA with a suspension from international competitions for testing positive for banned substances, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) appealed to the basketball federation and asked for clarification if Ravena could still play in the PBA during that 18-month period.
Unfortunately, FIBA denied the appeal. According to Gilas coach Chot Reyes, the ban on Ravena covers "all basketball leagues."
"That has already been denied. The FIBA has replied in no uncertain terms that his ban covers all basketball leagues. Whether under FIBA or not, it covers all basketball leagues," Reyes said in an exclusive interview with SportsCenter Philippines on Wednesday.
Aside from tournaments, Ravena is also disallowed from participating in practices and any kind of basketball-related activities.
After a meeting with the PBA Board on Thursday, SBP president Al Panlilio said "the PBA respects FIBA's decision."
League commissioner Willie Marcial, meanwhile, added that Ravena won't serve a suspension in the PBA and will just be relegated to the reserves list.
The 18-month ban started February 25 and will end on August 24, 2019, meaning Ravena will miss the remainder of the ongoing PBA season, as well as bulk of the next.
Despite the verdict, the NLEX guard remained optimistic and told reporters on Wednesday "God has his plans" and that's he's been overwhelmed with the support he's been receiving from fans and his PBA family.
With the downtime, Ravena plans to engage himself in individual workouts and wants to become the face of doping prevention initiatives to raise awareness and aid fellow athletes.
"We agree to make this an advocacy and for me to be an instrument to the education of the Filipino athletes nationwide. As a country promoting fair play in all sports, we want to stop future circumstances regarding the issue by increasing the knowledge of our athletes," Ravena said earlier.