‘We’re Going There to Win’: Captain Kiefer Ravena Steers SGA’s Jones Cup Campaign

Kiefer Ravena is no stranger to the role of captain, and as leader, he is eager to lead his team to success.

As Strong Group Athletics (SGA) prepares for the 43rd William Jones Cup in Taiwan this July, veteran guard Kiefer Ravena finds himself in a familiar yet crucial role as team captain.

The 30-year-old Ravena, fresh off a successful season with the Shiga Lakes in Japan’s B.League, brings a wealth of experience to a squad aiming to reclaim the Jones Cup title for the Philippines for the third time.

SGA’s participation marks their debut in this prestigious international tournament as Coach Charles Tiu, who previously led Mighty Sports to Jones Cup victories in 2016 and 2019, has set his sights on bringing the championship back to the Philippines.

“We’re going there to win. That’s what Strong Group is known for, having a good culture of winning,” Ravena told The GAME.

He emphasized the unique challenges of the tournament’s format, noting, “Eight games in ten days more or less, something like that. Gotta make sure we’re physically and emotionally and mentally stable and ready to play in games like this na sunod sunod talaga.”

The team’s roster boasts a strong Ateneo connection, featuring former Blue Eagles like Dave Ildefonso, Geo Chiu, and naturalized Filipino center Ange Kouame.

Ravena expressed enthusiasm about the team’s composition, saying, “Nakakatuwa kasi nanggaling kami lahat sa brotherhood of Ateneo. Even before I played for Ateneo, may mga naglay na ng paths in front of us. Ngayon nandito na kami sa professional level representing the Philippines and the SGA.”

As the team fine-tunes its preparations, Ravena’s focus remains on peak performance and injury prevention. “We want to stay in shape the best way we can, just to avoid a lot of injuries,” he explained.

(Photo credit: Julius Domondon via SGA on Facebook)

This tournament serves as crucial preparation for many players with upcoming commitments in various leagues across Asia and beyond. And many fans will definitely be paying attention, especially as the basketball craze among Filipinos is currently on a high.

In light of recent UAAP developments, Ravena also addressed Mason Amos’ controversial transfer from Ateneo to La Salle.

“It is what it is. It already happened. There’s nothing much we can do about it,” Ravena stated, striking a tone of acceptance. “But with Mason, I guess he has his lessons behind it. I respect it and I hope everybody respects it as well.”

Looking ahead to his own career, Ravena discussed his upcoming move to the Yokohama B-Corsairs for the 2024-25 B.League season, where he’ll team up with Japanese star Yuki Kawamura.

“With Yuki, he is a system,” Ravena said. “He can do so many things that help the team. So I have to adjust, learn how to play with a player like Yuki, and learn how to work around him in his playing style.”

As SGA gears up for the Jones Cup, all eyes will be on Kiefer Ravena and his teammates as they aim to make their mark on the international stage and bring glory back to Philippine basketball.

With a blend of experienced veterans, rising stars, and talented imports, Strong Group Athletics is poised to make a strong run at the Jones Cup title, carrying the hopes of Filipino basketball fans with them.

Banner image by Julius Domondon via SGA on Facebook.

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