Everybody wants to be a hero — except for Kiefer Ravena.
Just moments after drilling the game-winner in NLEX’s 87-85 come-from-behind triumph over Meralco on Friday, the second overall pick in the 2017 PBA Rookie Draft said that he’d rather win games before the final buzzer.
“Honestly, no,” Ravena said. “For the fans, these types of game are very good. But for the players and the coaching staff, it’s not.”
Whether he wanted it or not though, he showed tremendous poise down the stretch and towed the Road Warriors from 10-points down in the final period against the Bolts courtesy of his big plays in the final minute.
First, he drilled the lead-grabbing three with 43.4 seconds remaining to put his side up, 83-82. He would later on deliver the dagger, dropping the turnaround jumper with 0.9 ticks left to decide the outcome.
“I was fortunate enough to get it. You wouldn’t know the outcome of the game if you won’t try to shoot it,” said the 24-year-old, who relieved to redeem himself after fouling Chris Newsome in the last 15.3 seconds that tied the game at 85. “I didn’t want that the team’s effort will go to waste because of my wrong play, so I had to make up to the whole team and I’m glad that the last shot went in.”
Ravena was just grateful for the trust given to him by the team and coach Yeng Guiao in the game coming off a career-low seven point-performance in the 81-79 squeaker over Ginebra last Saturday, where he shot a paltry 1-of-12 clip from the field.
“Imagine that, shooting 8-percent in the previous game but still, coach Yeng trusted me with the last shot. How can you not have the confidence in yourself after that? I’m just lucky that I was able to make up for probably my worst shooting night in this game,” he said.
At 4-4, NLEX has already gotten itself back in the race as it sits tied at fifth with Phoenix, TNT, and Ginebra.
And after a confidence-boosting game like this one, Ravena is wishing that more wins will come the Road Warriors’ way as they make a final sprint to the 2018 PBA Philippine Cup quarterfinals.
“Hopefully, it won’t be a trend like the last time. We win two straight and then lose four,” he said. “Hopefully, we get to ride this victory throughout the conference because we know that it’s just gonna get tougher now.”
NLEX will now brace for joint leader Alaska on Sunday.