ANTIPOLO – Kiefer Ravena admitted NLEX was still in a hangover from its breakthrough semifinal appearance in the PBA Philippine Cup that led to an embarrassing 123-103 beating at the hands of Columbian Dyip in their Commissioner’s Cup debut on Saturday night.
The Rookie of the Year race frontrunner typified the hangover, contributing only nine points – all in the third quarter – on 3-of-10 shooting overall, three assists, three rebounds and one turnover in 18 minutes as a starter.
“Syempre, nakakahiya,” Ravena said. “After the semis berth last conference, bigla kang tatambakan ng bente, ‘di ba? Plus may import pa, baligtad. So nakakahiya for us.”
“But tapos na yun and we have to face a tough Rain or Shine team with a very tough import and we don't want to let this conference slip away early from us,” he added as the Road Warriors return to action on Wednesday.
Asked if they were overconfident against a Dyip team that won just one game in the last two conferences, Ravena agreed, but blamed the team’s complacency the most.
“Meron naman, totoo na meron naman din (overconfidence),” Ravena said. “Hindi naman sa pagiging overconfident pero siguro yung mindset na nasa bakasyon pa and mindset na parang nagko-coast pa. Lahat naman kami doon at fault.”
“So kami, kailangan lang namin is ayun, okay na, wake up call,” he added. “If that can't wake you up, what will? For us, we start practice tomorrow, forget about this game and think about the next coming games.”
NLEX coach Yeng Guiao took the blame for not conditioning his wards’ minds better.
“I feel that we were not ready to play coming from the break. I think I have to take responsibility for that because parang naging complacent kami after the semifinal appearance,” Guiao said. “I think it’s just a wake-up call, an urgency we have to address that we need to set our minds to working harder in practice and getting ourselves prepared better.”
“I have to take a lot of responsibility in the below-par performance in our first game… We were just too satisfied with our performance in the last conference,” he added.