There’s a side to basketball star Kiefer Ravena not too many fans know about. It’s his business acumen. Now that he’s on leave from the game to serve his FIBA suspension, Ravena has more time to oversee his business ventures. He recently opened the Phenom Elite Training Academy in Bacolod and his chain of Ally’s All-Day Breakfast has expanded to four restaurants.
“Ever since I was a young kid, my parents opened my mind to the business world,” said the 24-year-old Ravena. “I started doing stocks at 16. I’m a Com Tech Management grad, major in marketing and I’m really quite business-minded. The training academy in Bacolod has a gym, basketball court and rehab center. Mainly, my mission is to bridge the training gap between Manila and the provinces. The Bacolod facility is being handled by my conditioning coach Mark Caron, Justin Aquino and PT Jose Vergara who’s a rehab specialist. Instead of provincial teams going to Manila for training, they can now go to a hub in Bacolod, stay a few weeks, train hard and we’ll make sure the results are what they want.”
Ravena said transitioning to the business world early is in preparation for life after basketball. A major step forward was earning his degree at Ateneo, something that he called his biggest achievement. “More than all the MVPs, all the championships, a degree will take me a step or two farther than my basketball career,” said Ravena. “Knowing that basketball won’t be here forever. Although I’d like to play as long as I can, I know there will come a time when I would have to take off the laces and hang them up. But that degree will never fade away. My Ateneo diploma, for me, is really something that I can brag about because as a student-athlete, I went through five gruelling years. Having to balance everything else with school and basketball. It’s so fulfilling na noong pag-akyat ko sa stage, tinawag ang pangalan ko, looking in front of everybody. I graduated a year after my batch because we’re five years playing sa UAAP. So I graduated with the lower batch. “
As a Milo sports ambassador, Ravena said he’s conscious about the values of team work and discipline, about overcoming barriers and overachieving. “I started Milo when I was four,” related Ravena. “I think because of my drive, more than anything else, I was allowed to join Milo BEST at a very young age, thanks to coach Nic (Jorge) and Tita (Marilyn). With Milo BEST, hindi lang values sa basketball matututunan mo kasi what’s important is discipline. Even now, I remember, when you hear that long whistle, you stay low and shout ‘defense,’ one of the things Milo BEST emphasizes to get everyone’s attention. So the little things really matter. You can be a sponge in absorbing everything to increase your knowledge. Although I’m now in the PBA, I’m still a student, learning a lot of things, learning the ropes. As everyone knows, sports teaches a lot of values. So to me, Milo has been a very big help, building my foundation, being a better person and a better player.”
Ravena said his Milo background got him ready for the challenges in every stage of his life. “Everybody goes through struggles in school,” he said. “As a student-athlete, I struggled, too, with practices, games, school work especially if we practice late, we don’t get to sleep that much then there’s still homework to do. At Ateneo, they put a priority on academics so you can’t use basketball as an excuse not to do homework.”
His restaurant venture is another partnership with Alyssa, a reason why it’s called Ally’s All-Day Breakfast. What about wedding plans? “Not yet but it’s on the way there, knowing that I’m business partners with Alyssa so we’ll see in the near future if everything goes well,” he said. “For now, her priority is volleyball and mine is basketball. As much as we can be an instrument to inspire a lot of people, we’re going to try to maximize that. Then, eventually, once we’re stable enough to know that we can move on to the next stage, I think it’s going to be a better transition for the both of us.”