KIEFER Ravena shrugged off jetlag and came up big come crunch time in Mighty Sports' opening 92-87 comeback win over Seoul Samsung Thunders in the Merlion Cup in Singapore on Wednesday night.
Ravena, who came straight from Texas and joined the team on the eve of the tournament, found a way to score seven points for Mighty - none bigger than the jumper he hit with the shotclock running down that gave Mighty a three-point spread, 84-81, with 1:35 to go.
Imports Al Thornton and Hamady N'Diaye then put the final touches to the big finishing kick that completed the hard-earned victory for the Philippine representative.
"No jet lag for me while playing," Ravena told SPIN.ph when asked how he was feeling during the match. "Mind over matter na lang e. Pero after, crash talaga."
The former Ateneo star, coming off weeks of training in the US topped off by a tryout with NBA D-League side Texas Legends, said he was confident enough that he could make the shot.
"Confident in a way na isa 'yun sa mga shots na I do sa practice," he said. "Gusto ko lang kahit papaano makatulong sa team. And D Spencer found me open and I'm glad I was able to make it."
Mighty Sports had to climb back from 10 points down and head coach Charles Tiu expected the early struggles, considering this is a different team from the one that ruled the Jones Cup in Taipei last month.
“This win is the first for this team. It’s a new group although we still have some of the guys who played in Taiwan. But it’s a new team,” Tiu said.
“It’s still a work in progress. The boys are slowly getting used to playing together. We’re still looking for the right combinations. But we’re getting there,” he added.
Ravena conceded the presence of crack imports made it easier for him and fellow locals Joseph Yeo, ABL MVP Matthew Wright, and ex-National University star Gelo Alolino.
"It also helped na may mga imports kami na sobrang take charge sila nung humahabol kami," he said. "It made our lives so much easier kasi nga dahil sa attention sa defense grabe sa kanila."
But the two-time UAAP MVP will always be on his toes, saying anything can happen in a short tournament like this one.
"Well isang game pa lang naman. Kailangan pa rin syempre puso at yung dedication bawat game nandon kasi mabilis lang tournament e. Kaya hindi pwede mag rest while playing," he said.