By Ernest Hernandez
Gilas Pilipinas started off slow, allowing Chinese Taipei to get the jump on them and lead by as much as 14 points in the first quarter last Nov. 27. Coach Chot Reyes called on Kiefer Ravena to help the team come back in the game plus some adjustments.
The 2017 PBA 2nd overall draft pick sparked the team, clawing back and eventually wresting the lead midway the second period. Veteran Jayson Castro credited June Mar Fajardo and Ravena for their efforts in trimming down the Chinese Taipei lead.
“Sobrang ganda ng laroni Kiefer. Isa siya sa mga nag-shine ngayon at si June Mar. Sana magtuloy-tuloy na kasi nakuha na niya rhythm niya,” said Castro.
Statistics may not do justice to Ravena’s hustle to put opponents on notice. He finished the night with 9 points and five assists.
Terrence Romeo, who is out with an injury, was not surprised by the performance of Ravena together with Roger Pogoy.
“Expected ko na ‘yun. Yung dalawang iyon, talagang alam ko na ready sila palagi,” said Romeo.
“At the same time, yung experience nandun na sa kanila. Hindi ka na dapat mag-worry kung mag-step up sila o hindi. Nandun na yung talent nila. Yung talent hindi na mawawala sa kanila.”
Ravena was merely carrying out his role. Even when he was still on the bench, he was taking down notes before being called to play.
“That’s the benefit coming off the bench; you can see the game. You get to see what is going on, the flow of the game,” said Ravena. “For me, reading the game on how it is played, isa sa kailangan ko gawin.”
With a talented Gilas team, Ravena just wanted to find ways to contribute.
“Siyempre, sa team na ganito, hahanap ka rin ng way para maka-contribute; dumepensa, rumebound o mamasa. Gagawin mo lalo na sa games na ganito,” he ended.
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