IT’S just one of those nights when the stars weren’t aligned for NLEX.
Kiefer Ravena gave credit to Magnolia Pambansang Manok’s defense after a 99-84 loss in Game 2 of the PBA Philippine Cup semifinals, but stressed the setback also had something to do with the Road Warriors not playing the way they should be.
“There’ll be certain games where we kind of played out of our system,” said the rookie out of Ateneo after the Hotshots’ leveled the best-of-seven series at 1-1 on Monday night at the Mall of Asia Arena.
“Sinasabi nga ni (assistant) coach Jolas (Jojo Lastimosa) that there’ll be certain games where we really have to be smart about.”
The Hotshots outscored the Road Warriors off points from turnovers, 30-15, and got more contribution from the bench, 58-31.
Only Alex Mallari and JR Quinahan out of coach Yeng Guiao’s reliable scorers hit in double figures for the Road Warriors with 13 each, while getting a bonus of 10 points from back-up big man Rabeh Al-Hussaini.
Ravena and backcourt partner Kevin Alas meanwhile, were held to a combined 15 points. Despite dishing off seven assists, Ravena committed a team-high five turnovers.
And ‘The Phenom’ acknowledged sophomore guard and Gilas teammate Jio Jalalon played well guarding him.
“The battles we played internationally and the practices we had together, meron at meron ka talagang matututunan kung paano yung tendencies ng isang tao,” he said. “Siguro inako niya na gusto niya akong depensahan kasi nga kilala niya ako.”
And then there’s Paul Lee, who made up for his lackluster showing in an 88-87 Game 1 loss by firing away with 27 points while going 4-of-9 from three-point range.
“Paul just played awesome and the way he’s supposed to play. We just can’t find any solution to that all throughout the game,” Ravena said of Magnolia’s top gunner, while noting how the Hotshots also shot 50 percent (35-of-70) from the field.
Like a true warrior, Ravena vows to comeback a better player for Game 3 set on Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“We learn from this, rest, forget about this, and be ready for Wednesday,” he stressed.
“I’ll be ready. I can’t be playing like this especially in a semis series,” added Ravena.