AN interesting sub-plot to Gilas Pilipinas' tune-up game against Ateneo on Tuesday was the match-up between brothers Kiefer and Thirdy Ravena.
Teammates during Kiefer's college days at Ateneo, the two Ravenas found themselves on opposite sides and even guarded each other at some points of the game, although it was only in a tune-up game eventually won by Gilas Pilipinas, 86-79.
Thirdy said it was the first time he battled Kiefer since the former UAAP MVP and two-time champion finished his collegiate career with the Blue Eagles.
"It was normal," said the younger Ravena. "It felt like 'yung feeling na nag-one-on-one before practice nung teammates kami but this time, on an official game na."
"It's a privilege na makalaro namin sila at magkaroon ng tight game," said Thirdy.
Thirdy said he was careful not to be carried away in defending his brother, who is set to lead the Philippines' campaign in the Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur.
"Sinabi ko sa sarili ko na wag ako kabahan or magpadala sa emotion ko na bantay ko ang kapatid ko," the younger of the two sons of former PBA star Bong Ravena said.
Kiefer said battling his brother is a way of helping improve themselves.
"Aga nga niya umalis (sa bahay)," said Kiefer of Thirdy. "Nag-work out pa siya. It's something that we do for each other to challenge ourselves."
Kiefer said the score reflected how tough a time the Gilas cadets had against the Blue Eagles.
"Fortunately, kailangan namin mama-in kasi baka mamaya, sila ang ipadala sa SEA Games kapag tinalo nila kami," said Kiefer in jest.
Kiefer, however, said the tough game against Ateneo will do Gilas a world of good down the road.
"Kailangan namin ipakita na when mga ganitong game kasi, it can be a bad habit when we switch it on sa third, fourth quarter. Pero when it has to be done, kailangan naming gawin 'yun," said Kiefer.
"Hopefully, we can improve every game."