Kiefer Ravena gestures to the crowd. Photo by Mark Cristino for ABS-CBNnews.com
MANILA, Philippines – Ateneo star Kiefer Ravena said his dagger three-pointer against the University of the East (UE) became possible because the Red Warriors were "scared" of leaving his teammates alone and double-teaming him.
Ravena again took over in crunch time and nailed a long three-pointer over UE's Renz Palma with 14 seconds to go. The shot gave Ateneo a 76-72 lead, and they went on to win 78-73.
"I had the goal, before the start of the game because the coaches already told me what UE was going to throw at me," Ravena explained after the game. "Kaya noong umpisa, I was really involving my teammates."
Ravena issued seven assists in the game and also had eight rebounds, but he initially struggled from the field and with foul trouble. It was forward Chris Newsome who stepped up and kept Ateneo in the game in the early goings. Sharp-shooter Von Pessumal also hit timely shots, while point guard Nico Elorde also helped in the scoring.
"Chris had a great game. Von was still there, and Nico. Eventually, babantayan na nila 'yung mga teammates ko, at 'yun ang makakapagpa-libre sa akin," Ravena said.
The plan worked as UE opted not to send a hard double in Ravena's way during the crucial possession, with center Charles Mammie instead staying in the middle of the paint. Palma also gave Ravena time to establish his dribble and his rhythm before the guard rose up for the triple.
"Noong dulo, walang naka-help side masyado sa akin, kasi takot sila kay Von tsaka kay Newsome," Ravena said. "So it helped us in the end."
"(Palma) was forcing me to Mammie's side, but Mammie was also scared of my other teammates kaya hindi siya maka-help. Nasa loob si Arvin (Tolentino), who is a threat also, so nagdalawang isip din siya," Ravena also said.
"I just capitalized on what the defense gave me. I was just ready."
Ateneo head coach Bo Perasol compared Ravena's heroics to that of a baker putting the icing on a cake.
"Ang ginawa ng teammates ni Kiefer, parang nag-bake sila, tapos si Kiefer ang naglagay ng icing. Siya naglagay ulit ng frosting," said Perasol.
UE coach Derrick Pumaren, for his part, said it was a "tough shot" by Ravena but noted that the defender, Palma, had made a mistake.
"He (Palma) didn't put pressure on him," Pumaren said. "We have a rule that on a one-on-one, we have to pressure him and make him commit to one side right away."
"But he (Palma) made him dribble and dribble, and he got his rhythm and made the tough shot," added the UE coach.