Ravena slapped with 18-month FIBA ban for drug test failure

Kiefer Ravena (Photo by Arvin Lim, ABS-CBN Sports)

The real reason behind the sudden pullout of Kiefer Ravena from the PBA All-Star Week is now known.

The SBP confirmed on Monday night that the spitfire NLEX guard has been suspended by FIBA for 18 months due to a failed drug test.

In an emergency press conference at Launchpad just beside the TV5 Media Center in Mandaluyong, officials from the SBP led by president Al Panlilio, chairman emeritus Manny Pangilinan, and executive director Sonny Barrios said FIBA notified them that Ravena was tested positive for three substances that are considered prohibited by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

“These are banned substances based on the WADA list. This is not a prohibited drug,” clarified Panlilio.

Ravena was tested positive for the banned substances following two examinations on his urine sample last Feb. 25 during Gilas’ FIBA World Cup Qualifiers game against Japan at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay.

“Di po ako tinest nang dalawang beses. Sa isang testing lang po ako nakuhanan ng urine sample,” clarified Ravena, who later said the prohibited substances were “found in a pre-workout drink I took before the game.”

Ravena, who was supposed to play on Sunday night for the Visayas All-Stars at the PBA All-Star game in Iloilo, was notified by the SBP to fly back in Manila for the said presser.

The one-and-a-half-year-ban started right on the day of his urine sample examination and will last until Aug. 24, 2019, which means he will be eligible to suit up for Gilas if the team makes the 2019 FIBA World Cup, which will start a week later in China.

“I take full responsibility for my actions, despite how painful and dreadful it is, in taking this pre-workout drink without analyzing and taking extra time to know what its ingredients are,” added Ravena.

On the other hand, as speculations arise on whether the FIBA ban will spill to the club leagues, Panlilio said, “We are communicating with FIBA seeking clarification in connection with Mr. Ravena’s playing for the NLEX PBA team. We will write a letter to clarify if we will have Kiefer playing for NLEX in the PBA.”

He then assured, “The SBP is doing its very best to help Kiefer in this situation and we’ll continue to work with FIBA to fix this issue.”PNA