Give And Go

The last fortnight has been a tough stretch for some upstarts in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) with them being embroiled in varying issues.
I am talking about NLEX Road Warriors and Gilas Pilipinas player Kiefer Ravena being suspended by world basketball governing body FIBA for failing a doping test and fellow rookie Jeron Teng of the Alaska Aces and Norbert Torres of the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters and PBA free-agent Thomas Torres stabbed and wounded in an altercation at the weekend.
Ravena first hit the news when it was formally announced on May 28 by the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) that indeed the prized rookie had failed the random drug test conducted by FIBA.
Under the decision released on May 22, Ravena is barred from competing in FIBA-sanctioned tournaments from Feb. 25, 2018 to Aug. 24, 2019 following his failing of the drug test.
According to details of the ruling, Ravena tested positive for three ingredients prohibited by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), namely, 4-methylhexan-2-amine (methylhexaneamine), 1,3-dimethylbutylamine (DMBA), and higenamine, from urine samples taken from him after 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.
Ravena clarified that said substances were found in the pre-warm-up supplement he took.
The 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.
Prior to the announcement, speculation already circulated that Ravena was in hot water after being pulled out last minute from the final leg of the PBA All-Star Game in Iloilo where he was supposed to play for the Iloilo All-Stars against Gilas Pilipinas members.
To say that this episode is unfortunate is really an understatement more so because it involved Ravena.
Having covered his career in college and early in the PBA, and having countless times to talk to him for interviews or casually, I can vouch that he is a high character guy.
His incredible work ethic and insatiable desire to continue improving and learning the game has been well documented.
For him to be involved in such predicament is unexpected and lamentable indeed.
But credit to him, he has been handling it well in true Kiefer fashion.
He is manning up to it, notwithstanding the suspension has practically put his basketball career to a major halt, as NLEX coach Yeng Guiao put it.
Ravena is using the issue to learn from and, more importantly, create awareness for other athletes to be mindful of what they put in their body so as not to have a repeat of such, which is the way to go, really, after everything that had happened.
Then less than a week later, the incident involving Teng and Company happened.
Reports have it that the incident occurred early Sunday morning when they were confronted by a group of men in a parking lot at the Bonifacio Global City and provoked and taunted resulting in a melee.
The purported assailants were said to have taken out knives as they attacked the basketball players resulting in Teng absorbing multiple stabbed wounds at the back and leftside of his body while Thomas had stab wounds in both arms. Norbert also had to be sewn up for a cut on his arm.
Currently the incident is still under investigation. Arrests have been made while the families of the aggrieved have signified their intention to file criminal charges.
Again, to see these young PBA players have their careers momentarily set aside, and in such circumstances, is sad and regrettable.
Teng has been a key cog to date for Alaska and Norbert is finding his way in Rain or Shine’s rotation.
Thomas is not in the PBA right now but was set to play in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League.
Things could have gone for the worse but good thing they are doing okay and recovering.
Here is hoping for their speedy recovery and may they get justice for what happened to them.
To Kiefer, Jeron, Norbert and Thomas, bear in mind that all these things will come to past. And may you all come back better and stronger following these unfortunate episodes.
Michael Angelo S. Murillo has been a columnist since 2003. He is a BusinessWorld reporter covering the Sports beat.