MANILA, Philippines – There was nothing special about the National University (NU) defense that forced him to miss 17 of his 20 shot attempts, Ateneo star Kiefer Ravena said on Saturday.
Ravena, the early leader for UAAP MVP honors, had his worst game of the season as he shot only three of 20 from the field and finished with 13 points in Ateneo's 60-64 loss to the Bulldogs.
"There was nothing special about it," Ravena told reporters when asked about NU's defense on him. "They did a decent job on it."
"Wala naman akong naramdaman na double, wala namang dumouble, kasi NU's a strong team, individually, in defense," he explained. "I've been under (NU) Coach Eric (Altamirano), and hindi siya 'yung masyadong ma-defensive schemes na do-double, dodoblehin mo 'yung star player ng iba."
"Kasi alam niya, trust niya 'yung mga players niya na kaya depensahan one-on-one," he added.
NU tossed a variety of defenders against Ravena, including, at one stretch, forward Troy Rosario. It was usually guards Rev Diputado and Paolo Javelona who drew the assignment during crunch time, however.
"We just really wanted to make it hard for him and make him work for his shots," Altamirano said of their defensive game plan on Ravena. "You know, Kiefer is Kiefer and you cannot stop him. What we wanted lang was to limit the other players."
Altamirano also noted that Ravena had some good looks that just didn't fall, something that Ravena also observed in his game.
"NU did a decent job… It's just a matter of me not making my shots," Ravena said.
Ravena conceded that fatigue may have also played a role in his performance, as the Blue Eagles were playing their third game of the week and usually played at a frantic pace that could have worn them down a bit.
"Fatigue came into the game also, coming off three straight games, back-to-back-to-back games," he said. "Pagod din, but you know, it's not an excuse. All the others team also went through that."
Ravena said he will simply have to adjust when his shots are not falling and he is being defended well by setting up his teammates more.
"I have to adjust to that. If I feel like I'm not making my shots, then I have to set up other teammates. Von (Pessumal) and Chris (Newsome) had like six attempts each, so I have to adjust to that. At the same time, it's a learning lesson for us," Ravena said.