Cheers of ‘One Big Flop’ fuel Kiefer Ravena’s fire to burn UE
MANILA, Philippines — Jeers of “One Big Flop” rained down on Ateneo superstar Kiefer Ravena Wednesday.
That though, turned out to be the worst mistake the boisterous University of the East crowd, with the stinging memory of Ravena breaking the Red Warriors’ hearts late in the first round still fresh, could make Wednesday night.
“It motivated me when I heard the UE crowd cheering ‘one big flop,'” said Ravena, whose game-clinching 3-pointer at the top of the key in the waning seconds of the Blue Eagles’ 78-73 win left the crowd in red in dead silence. “It really motivated me to play even more.”
Exactly 10 days ago, Ravena did the same. And though, he only scored 16 points this time, a far cry from his career-high 38 in the Blue Eagles’ houdini act over the Red Warriors in overtime, Ravena was as clutch.
It also didn’t help UE that Ravena came off a sup-bar outing in a loss to defending champion De La Salle last Sunday.
“I just wanted to bounce back. I had crucial misses and like I said, I take the blame for our loss against La Salle,” said Ravena, who also collected eight rebounds, seven assists and two steals. “I just wanted to win. No matter what the game plan is, you really have to find a way.”
His teammates Chris Newsome, Von Pessumal and Nico Elorde showed the way in the first three quarters as Ravena kind of just took his time and waited for the right opportunity to find his game.
“I had a goal before the start of the game, because the coaches have already told me what UE is going to throw at me. So at the start I was really involving my teammates, involving Chris,” said Ravena. “Chris had a great game, Von and Nico were still there because eventually, they will be mindful of my teammates and that will get me free so in the end there wasn’t any help side defense because they were scared of Von and New.”
“What can I say, it seemed like what Ravena’s teammates did is they baked and then Kiefer just put the frosting,” said Ateneo coach Bo Perasol after his squad regained solo first place with a 7-2 record. “Von was there, Newsome was there, Nico was there, everybody else contributed and Kief was just there in the end planning the final touches.”
Perasol also recalled the moments where his veteran guard missed game-winning shots that made Ravena a better player.
“He has also missed shots when we were abroad but that’s what I also like. No matter what happens, he will take it (shot) and he believes that he can do it where he misses 99% [of the time], the 1% will come anyway,” Perasol said.
Apart from giving much of the credit to his teammates, the 6-foot Ravena also knows how important the players’ bond with their coaches is to a team.
“With the constant reminders of coach Bo, just constant reminders from him and the player-coach relationship – that’s what’s going well for us. Not just off the court but during the game,” Ravena said. “Just one look from coach Bo and I already know what he wants me to do to help the team.”
Ravena heard it from the UE crowd Wednesday night. But after it only fueled his fire, Ravena likely won’t hear from them again.
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