Kiefer Ravena agent urges PBA to rethink denial of Japan stint

Ilocos Norte Gov. Matthew Manotoc is hoping the PBA would reconsider granting clearance to NLEX guard Kiefer Ravena who has an offer to play in Japan.

"I've always been an advocate for the player. I mean, we're agents so we're really biased. I think the PBA hopefully can consider the player and his welfare and his financial career," exclaimed Manotoc in the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum webcast Tuesday.

Manotoc and Marvin Espiritu are partners in Espiritu-Manotoc Basketball Management (EMBM), an agency representing numerous cagers including Ravena.

Last Saturday, the PBA Board of Governors reiterated that the league was barring the 27-year-old from joining Japanese B.League squad Shiga Lakestars due to his existing Uniform Player's Contract (UPC) with NLEX. Ravena had signed a three-year extension with the Road Warriors in September 2020.

Two days after the league decision, "The Phenom" was seen training with NLEX in their "bubble" camp in Clark, Pampanga.

While Manotoc has taken a step back from EMBM to accommodate his political office, he explained that he remains updated by Espiritu. And with all that has been going on, the agent-turned-politico was hopeful that their ward and the league could come up with a compromise.

"[Those covering the PBA] know better than me, that we don't have a Players' Union, and so on and so forth. So I hope the rights of our players can be at the forefront," expounded Manotoc.

Meanwhile, the scion of the Marcos clan continued to offer his province's capital as venue for closed-circuit training camps of sports teams and organizations.

TNT returned to Laoag last Monday to recommence their practices at the Laoag Centennial Arena while Meralco is likewise expected to come back within the week. The national beach volleyball teams are also in Ilocos Norte, preparing for the Asian Volleyball Confederation Continental Cup starting on June 18 in Thailand.

Manotoc proudly stated that his province enforces strict health protocols, and that is why their COVID-19 cases have remained relatively low.

"For sports, we do PCR testing, just one [negative test result] to enter. In the bubble set-up, we're quite strict. We want to make sure that there are no infections. We even test staff that interact with participants in the bubble," he explained.

Alongside "bubble" training camps, the young governor also repeated his proposal for Laoag to host PBA games in the coming season.