Kiefer Ravena is looking at the present with an eye out on the future.
The 6-foot Ravena admitted that he intends to thrive on his ‘natural position’ as playmaker for powerhouse Mighty Sports in the PCBL, knowing he would play the same position if and when he makes the big jump to the pro ranks.
Surrounded by some of the finest amateur and collegiate players including Perpetual Help center Bright Akhuetie and former Arellano gunner Adrian Celada, Ravena showcased not only his usual offensive prowess but also his passing ability in Mighty Sports’ come-from-behind 79-70 victory over formidable Jumbo Plastic in the PCBL Chairman’s Cup on Sunday night at the Malolos Sports and Convention Center.
Ravena, a former 2-time UAAP MVP with Ateneo, debuted with 16 markers and even dished out 5 assists as Mighty Sports wiped out an early 14-point deficit and uncorked a blinding 17-2 windup, built around 5 triples, to complete their opening-day fightback.
“I’m transitioning for that kind of position in the PBA,” said Ravena. “I just want to be consistent on that position that I will play. Sometimes I’ll be a combo guard but most of the time, point guard talaga ang lalaruin ko.”
“I’m still adjusting but ito talaga ‘yung natural position ko simula nu’ng high school,” added Ravena, who steered the Blue Eaglets to a 3-peat in the UAAP juniors cage tilt.
“Nag-transition lang ako on being a combo guard to fit a system in college. Masarap naman (maglaro as point guard) kasi gusto ko talagang sine-set-up ang mga teammates ko. It’s always been an instinct of mine to set up and make my teammates look better in the court.”
Even Mighty Sports coach Mike Fermin took notice of Ravena’s recent plays. “Siguro nagta-transition siya as a point (guard),” said the former Adamson interim mentor, who was left in awe with Ravena’s composure in the stretch.
“Steady siya, sobrang kontrolado. ‘Yun ‘yung upside ng bata. Hindi nagpa-panic. Controlled lang talaga siya. And he’s always looking for his teammates,” added Fermin. “Ito na rin ang outlet niya para magpa-kundisyon.”
More than his individual performance, Ravena also gave credit to the 6-foot-7 Akhuetie and Celada who provided the inside-outside attack for Mighty Sports, which hardly missed the absence of former Rain or Shine mainstay TY Tang due to a pressing personal commitment.
“It’s been a pleasure playing with Bright again,” said Ravena of Akhuetie who dominated with game-highs of 21 points and 18 rebounds, winning his virtual ‘Nigerian imports’ battle with reigning NCAA MVP and Rookie of the Year awardee Allwell Oraeme who struggled with just six markers and 11 boards.
“I’ve been with (Akhuetie) during the 3-on-3 (World Tour in Dubai),” said Ravena. “Sabi lang namin sa kanya, ‘Let’s represent the team well.’”
Not to be outdone was the 6-foot-6 Celada, who banged in 12 of his 15 markers in the payoff canto, all coming from beyond the arc.
“It’s such a relief na mayroon kang kakampi na 6-foot-6 pero shooting guard who can stretch the floor and run like a deer,” said Ravena of Celada, who also stymied smaller Jumbo Plastic guard James Martinez. “Nahirapan sila James nu’ng huli. ‘Yung length ni Adrian naka-bother sa kanya.”
Although they passed their initial test with flying colors, Ravena admitted they can only get better. First game of the season, medyo kapaan pa. Hopefully, it goes up from here. Nakita niyo naman start namin medyo kalawang. But nag-buckle up naman on defense at nag-shoot mga tira namin sa dulo kaya malaking bagay ‘yun,” he said. — By Jerome Lagunzad