Kiefer Ravena's international basketball career just received a serious dent.
Ravena was deemed ineligible from FIBA competition for one year and a half after testing positive for prohibited substances in a random drug test conducted by FIBA after Gilas Pilipinas' game against Japan on February 25.
The news was announced in a press conference arranged by the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) on Monday.
SBP president Al Panlilio said FIBA has concluded that Ravena violated the anti-doping rule policy after 4-methylhexan-2-amine (methylhexaneamine), 1,3-dimethylbutylamine (DMBA), and higenamine -- all on the 2018 WADA List of Prohibited Substances and Methods -- were found in his test samples.
Panlilio added the SBP is still clarifying how the ineligibility will affect Ravena's stint with the NLEX Road Warriors in the PBA.
Ravena was present at the press conference and gave a sincere apology, adding he was clueless the pre-workout drink he took before the game contained such substances.
"I will take full responsibility of my actions despite how painful and dreadful it is. I took this drink without analysing what its ingredients are," said Ravena. "I am a responsible man. I will face the consequences no matter how painful and life changing they may be."
As a result of the violation, the Gilas standout will be ineligible in any FIBA competition from February 25, 2018 to August 24, 2019. He will, however, be eligible to play in the FIBA World Cup next year should the Philippines qualify.
The result of the Gilas-Japan game will not be affected by the violation.
According to the FIBA report, which was obtained by ESPN5, the analysis of Ravena's A Sample was tested at a WADA-accredited laboratory in Montreal, Canada. The test found banned substances methylhexaneamine, DMBA, and higenamine present in his sample.
FIBA informed Ravena of the positive test back on March 19 and also reminded him of his right to request for the analysis of his B Sample, which the player officially did on March 29.
A test on Ravena's B Sample confirmed the results of the A Sample and, at that point, Ravena was officially charged with an anti-doping rule violation.
As part of the process, Ravena, through the SBP, was allowed to explain his side. According to the player, he usually took a pre-workout drink called C4, which can be bought in supplement retailers in Manila. Prior to a training camp in Australia, Ravena ran out of C4 and found a replacement drink called DUST, which a retailer said was similar to C4.
The problem for Ravena was that he failed to say that he drank DUST prior to his testing. However, the player maintained that there was no intention to cheat.
FIBA could ban a player up to two years for their first violation of the anti-doping rule but they decided to deem Ravena ineligible for 18 months.
According to FIBA rules, all players are responsible for knowing what constitutes an anti-doping rule violation and the substances and methods which have been included on the Prohibited List. It is the athlete's personal duty that no banned substance enters his body.
Also, FIBA's statement clarified that "it is not necessary that intent, fault, negligence, or knowing use on the athlete's part be demonstrated in order to establish the anti-doping violation." For Ravena, it was mostly his negligence as banned substances higenamine and another name for methylhexanamine (1,3DMAA) were on the label of DUST.
The FIBA panel that deliberated on the matter deemed that Ravena's explanation was enough for him to benefit from a reduction in the sanction from 24 months to 18 months.
Ravena last suited up for Gilas in the second window of the World Cup Asian qualifiers, where he averaged 9.5 points, 2.0 rebounds, 3.5 assists in 22 minutes of play. The national team ended up losing to Australia in Melbourne before beating Japan at home.
The NLEX rookie was supposed to play for the Visayas All-Stars on Sunday in the last leg of the PBA All-Star week in Iloilo, but pulled out last minute after he was asked by the SBP to fly back to Manila that night for the press conference.