Kiefer Ravena admits ‘shortcomings’ as leader in latest Gilas debacle
MANILA, Philippines — Kiefer Ravena took the blame for Gilas Pilipinas’ failure to reach the 2022 Fiba Asia Cup quarterfinals for the first time in 15 years.
The 28-year-old guard admitted he had a lot of shortcomings as the leader of the Philippine men’s basketball team, which ended its campaign with an 81-102 loss to Japan in a knockout game on Tuesday at Istora Senan in Jakarta, Indonesia.
“I felt like I let the team down, not being the leader that they expected. There are a lot of shortcomings of being a leader but it comes with experience as well and I’m still learning from them,” said Ravena, who scored 15 points in their heartbreaking loss.
The Japan B.League import from Shiga, who averaged 10 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 2.3 assists in the tournament, said they missed their chance to reach the Top 8 right from the get-go of their match against the Japanese, who unleashed a 23-10 start and never looked back to set a quarterfinal duel against Australia.
“This is I think the second game in a row where practically the game was lost in the first quarter,” he said.
Ravena was pleased with how his team bounced back from their poor rebounding against New Zealand last Sunday, outrebounding Japan, 40-34 as the lone bright spot for Gilas.
However, the Filipinos, who came off a one-turnover performance, gave up 17 errors that resulted in 23 turnover points for the Japanese.
“Something that is a little bit positive is I think we were able to learn from our mistakes during the New Zealand game. We’re being outrebounded by 33 and now winning the rebounding department so looking at the bright side of it,” the former Ateneo star said.
“But then again, having 17 turnovers and too many points off turnovers basically Japan scored on every turnover that we had. Especially in the team against Japan, those turnover points mostly are threes. So it was a big deficit for us. But again, learning lesson and we move on from this.”
After another frustrating ninth place finish, Ravena vowed to charge their Jakarta stint to experience, agreeing with what Gilas head coach Chot Reyes has been saying.
“As coach said, this is all our first Fiba Asia Cup. I’m not here to make any excuses but I just told them that this is for the long haul,” he said. “Whether we play in Japan, we play in the PBA, we play in Korea or wherever our careers take us, this is something that we have to really embrace and take into heart and take it personally that what happened here is something that can make us better.”