In what may be a monumental sweep to the Philippine basketball, NLEX Road Warriors rookie Kiefer Ravena has been imposed a suspension by International Basketball Federation (FIBA) for 18 months after he surprising tested positive for three banned performance-enhancing substances.
The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP), in a swiftly called press conference on Monday night, May 28, announced that they had received a formal communication from the FIBA notifying them that Ravena had failed on a random drug test conducted on February 25, 2018 – following Gilas Pilipinas‘ contest against the Japanese national basketball team at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The NLEX rookie performed very well in that showdown against Japan, posting 13 points with a pair of rebounds and five assists off the bench, in what turned out to be an 89-84 victory for the Philippine national basketball team.
Ravena went through a random drug test straightway after that game, and on March 19, the SBP was told that he had tested positive for three performance-enhancing drugs that are banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) Anti-Doping Rule Violations (ADRVs).
The substances are Higenamine, 1,3-Dimethylbutylamine, and 4-Methylhexan-2-amine.
Because of that, Ravena has been declared ineligible to take part in FIBA for 18 months – starting from February 25, 2018, to August 24, 2019.
It was the pinnacle of a day for Ravena, who had been pulled out from the Visayas leg of the 2018 PBA All-Star festivities in Iloilo City on Sunday afternoon. PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial announced that Ravena head back to Manila and will be missing the contest just a few hours before the kick off time, triggering fans into a madness of speculation.
“I am in front of you guys to take full responsibility for my actions, despite how painful and dreadful it is,” Ravena said in the press conference organized by the SBP.
The positive drug test staunched from a pre-workout supplement called “DUST,” which Ravena consumed ahead of their matchup against Japan.
It was not his usual pre-workout supplement drink of choice. Ravena told FIBA that he likely ingested the substances from a workout supplement called DUST, which he said was a recommendation from a store attendant because his usual supplement C4 was sold out.
“I regret taking this pre-workout drink without analyzing or taking extra time to research its ingredients,” said Ravena.
“DUST” is not illegal in the Philippines, according to Attorney Aga Francisco, the legal advisor of SBP. As expected, anyone can buy it over the counter anywhere in the country.
“So it’s not illegal,” Francisco added. “You take it, you buy it, you go to the gym.”
“It’s over the counter, walang prescription, you can buy it,” SBP president Al Panlilio said. “It’s up to the player to assess whether it’s banned or not. Ignorance is not an excuse.”
Indeed, even FIBA acknowledged that Kiefer Ravena carried out an “honest mistake” in consuming the pre-workout supplement.
But regardless of his vindication, the outcome still showed that he failed a drug test and must be imposed with sanction. It is a disciplinary punishment that the professional basketball player, along with SBP, fully recognized.
“I am a responsible man, and I will face the consequences, no matter how painful and life changing,” said Ravena.
“We agreed to make this an advocacy, and for me to be an instrument for the education of the Filipino athlete,” he added.
“The SBP is part of an international federation, which is FIBA. There are rules, and we should abide by the rules of the entity that we’re a member of,” said Panlilio. “If we do something wrong, we should do the right thing. And the right thing is to follow the ruling that FIBA has given to us.”
With the 18-month-long suspension, Kiefer is scheduled to miss the rest of the FIBA World Cup qualifying games, which continues in late June. Ravena is averaging 7.3 points, 2.0 rebounds, and 3.3 assists per game for the Philippines in the last two qualifying windows. — Edison Tonbgol, Centrio News