KIEFER Ravena usually draws the loudest cheers whenever he plays, being arguably the most celebrated amateur cager in the country.
But on Saturday, the pro rookie playmaker found himself on the other end of those cheers in NLEX’s PBA Philippine Cup matchup against the league’s most popular team, Barangay Ginebra.
Ravena, though, played below standards as he contributed just seven points – all but two from the foul line as he missed all but one of his 12 shots, although the Road Warriors came out victorious with an 81-78 decision to snap their losing streak.
“With Ginebra, it's a hostile environment,” this season’s No. 2 overall pick said. “But Ginebra fans are great fans. It's a pleasure, it's an honor playing in front of them, knowing that they have such great tradition that has been going on and on from generation to generation in the PBA.
“I have full respect for the Ginebra fans, and for me, I just have to make it a motivation knowing that I have to (give my best),” he added. “Unfortunately tonight, I wasn't able to give my best game. But I respect them, and they deserve your best every single night.”
Ravena insisted the crowd jeering hardly factored in his sub-par performance.
“Not really, no. I was there with my shots, but 'di lang pumapasok,” the 24-year-old cager said. “Kahit sino pwede mag-step up sa'min kaya masaya ako na nanalo kami ngayon.”
Indeed, Ravena found plenty of help this time from JR Quiñahan, Larry Fonacier, and Cyrus Baguio, who all came through in the clutch to lead the team in the grind-out win.
The former Ateneo star also made up for a dismal offensive showing with a solid defensive job on fellow Blue Eagle alum LA Tenorio and Scottie Thompson.
“Ako, gusto ko is to do the intangibles whether on a night that I can score a lot, or on a night that I can just help the team on defense, prevent Scottie from having offensive rebounds, or stopping LA from creating his own shot,” Ravena said. “Yun lang ang kailangan kong gawin, gagawin ko talaga para manalo.”
“It was a tough shooting night for me, but we'll learn from that, work on the things we have to work on, and move forward in our preparation for Meralco,” he added.