Ateneo's Kiefer Ravena gestures after scoring the final shot against UST. Photo by Mark Cristino for ABS-CBNnews.com
MANILA, Philippines -- Ateneo star Kiefer Ravena said he wanted to take on the challenge of making the final shot for the Blue Eagles in their game against the University of Santo Tomas (UST), and he rose to the occasion, draining the game-winning jumper to give his team a 63-61 win.
After making only five of his 16 field goals early in the game, Ravena made both of his attempts in the final three minutes, including a jumper with 3.7 seconds left that proved to be the game-winner.
"I just wanted to get the play done," said Ravena, who finished with 17 points. "Sabi ko talaga, ishu-shoot ko talaga."
Ravena credited the play to assistant coach Ronnie Magsanoc, saying it was a "perfect play."
"Actually, 'pag kuha ko pa lang libre na ako eh," Ravena recalled. "Pero sabi nga ni (head) Coach Bo (Perasol), we really wanted to take the last shot. We didn't want to give UST (a chance) to tie or go for the win."
UST actually still had a chance to make the last shot, but Kevin Ferrer's final attempt did not even draw iron.
"I just waited for the perfect opportunity," Ravena said. "Medyo may breaks pa na napunta sa akin, kasi nadulas si (Ed) Daquioag, so medyo naiwan ko siya."
Ravena also revealed that it was a play that they had run and practiced time and again, thanks to Magsanoc.
"Yung mga ganoong play, pina-practice talaga namin," he said. "Nagshu-shooting kami ng mga ganoong play, to prepare myself physically, and at the same time, 'yung mental aspect ng laro. Lalo na pagdating sa ganoon, lahat ng tao pagod na."
"You have to rise above it... I just wanted to take on the challenge," he added.
The Blue Eagles have now won two consecutive close games, an 81-78 squeaker over Far Eastern University last week and this contest.
Ravena believes that these grind-out games work in the favor of their young team.
"It gives everyone the chance to experience a game like this and be mentally stronger," he said. "Yung mga games na ganito, everything is for growth, especially for a very, very young team. So we have to make the most out of it."