From left: Hong Kong Eastern Sports Club's Tyler Lamb, NLEX's Asi Taulava and rookie Kiefer Ravena, and first overall pick Christian Standhardinger after the Road Warriors and the ABL Champions' tuneup gamein Quezon City, Thursday noon. | Dalupang

NLEX’s Taulava has high hopes for ‘PBA-ready’ Ravena
Denison Rey A. Dalupang ( - November 10, 2017 - 4:00am

MANILA, Philippines — NLEX’s big man Asi Taulava has been in the league for quite some time. He has seen everything.

But he simply can’t help but wax celebratory over what he’s seeing from Road Warriors rookie Kiefer Ravena.

“He's not called The Phenom for no reason. Kief, he knows how to figure the game out. The thing about Kief is, he's more mature. He's PBA-ready. He's been ready since he left college,” Taulava said of the freshman shortly after the Road Warriors took on ABL champions Hong Kong Eastern and first overall pick Christian Standhardinger in a tuneup on Thursday.

“We like what we saw today. Compared to our team in the past, playing against these guys, pretty much stacked, they're the defending champs in the ABL, we felt that we competed against them,” the 18-year PBA veteran noted.

“These guys are really good, especially having Christian there, having Tyler (Lamb), and then the two imports … Great bunch of guys. I think Kief held his ground against the guys, competed, he can attack whenever he wants,” Taulava offered. “He knows how to create his own shots. I mean, it's the younger generation's time.”

The Road Warriors were able to narrow their deficit to just four, 82-86, in the final period. But the Thai-American Lamb, who is no new face to the many Filipino cagers — heated caught fire for HK Eastern. The visitors then mounted a 12-3 run en route to a 98-85 win on the road.


Despite the loss, Taulava said there are tons of things to look forward to — two Ks leading their backcourt and a possible deeper run in the coming All-Filipino Cup among those.

“I’m excited for Kief. I wanna see Kief and Kev (Alas) on the floor at the same time, especially with our offense. Our bread and butter is the pick and roll. I'm kinda excited,” he said with a grin.

“Our ultimate goal is to get to the semis. We're very happy with what management did, bringing in Kiefer. To have a piece like that added to NLEX is great,” added Taulava.

“Now, we just need to play more games, tune-up games, preseason games, and I think that's what Coach Yeng wants. That way, we can get better, we can get more familiar with one another,” he closed.

The new PBA season kicks off on December 17, ending a long break that gives way to the two FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers game to be played late in November.


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