Ravena to critics: ‘If we lose, we lose by me’
Kiefer Ravena took full responsibility for Ateneo’s latest collapse, an 80-76 loss to rival De La Salle on Sunday, in a game where the Blue Eagles blew a 15-point lead.
Ravena scored a game-high 19 points but shot just 7-of-24 from the field, forcing and missing shots late, including a potential game-tying triple inside the final 10 seconds.
“We blew a big lead, we weren’t able to capitalize on the lead. I felt bad for myself not being able to lead the team, especially for some of our guys since its their first Ateneo-La Salle game,” said the Ateneo star guard.
“Being a leader you have to have that sense of direction for the team and that was the mental thing I wasn’t able to help the team, especially in the latter part,” added Ravena, who also took the blame for Ateneo’s meltdown in a 68-58 setback at the hands of University of Santo Tomas a little over a week ago where the Eagles squandered a 16-point advantage late in the third period.
Ravena took the flak for doing too much and failing come through for the Blue Eagles late, something which he said he’s already used to dealing with throughout the years.
“Ever since it’s been that. Some people put the blame on me. That’s how the cookie crumbles,” said Ravena. “It’s not being a hero. It’s not wanting to be a hero, but if we lose, we lose by me and my captains, Von (Pessumal), and the other guys. I played the game with no regrets. People will give their own opinions about the game and I respect that.”
Ateneo head coach Bo Perasol came to the defense of Ravena and he is convinced that his top player will recover from his slump.
“How can we not go to him? He’s our leader. He bailed us out in the past,” Perasol said.
Perasol was referring to the time when Ravena’s clutch efforts lifted the Eagles over the National University Bulldogs last Sept. 16.
“There’s always a time where an excellent player will have bad games. We talked about it and it’s a new leaf going to the second round,” said Peraso. “If Kiefer is having a slump and we’re playing that way, that’s already a big thing. What if he’s playing better and all the others can contribute?”
“Good players will always bounce back. They will always find a way. And me as a coach, I will have to push him to get over that. I’m sure he (Ravena) understands that.”
And with how this year’s Final Four is shaping up, Ravena can’t afford to stay in a slump.
“It’s very unpredictable. We never know what’s going to happen, who’s going to beat who,” Ravena said of this season’s semifinals race. “We just have to play it out every time.”
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