KIEFER Ravena showed he can make an impact even when he’s misfiring as he had a hand in two crucial plays for NLEX in its 87-83 win over Alaska on Wednesday night that clinched the first semifinal appearance in the franchise's history.
Enduring an off night that saw him miss all but one of his 13 shots for a miserable seven-percent shooting, the rookie sensation still orchestrated the offense by dishing out seven assists on top of 11 points – nine coming from the foul line –on top of two steals in 29 minutes off the bench.
No assist was more important than the last two he dished out to Michael Miranda – the first for the three-pointer that tied the game at 83, as well as the short-range attempt that resulted in a foul and two charities that put the Road Warriors up for good.
“Ganun talaga, syempre nagmi-mintis ka, malas ka and pagdating naman sa dulo, importante pag nanalo kayo, tanggal na lahat yan, masama man sa mata,” Ravena said. “Pero I’m happy with the win. Whatever happens, lahat kami masaya ngayon.”
Whatever his individual performance, Ravena was glad to help the Raod Warriors reach the semifinals for the first time since joining the league in 2014.
“Finally closed the door on a semis,” the second overall pick in last year’s draft said. “Happy to be part of history for the franchise, just celebrate this win, something that we really wanted to make it happen.”
“Everybody stepped up, defensively, offensively,” he added. “Mike played two crucial games, ngayon nandito na naman siya. Hopefully this is a good start towards the playoffs and sana magtuluy-tuloy lang.”
The Road Warriors aren’t satisfied by reaching the Final Four, alone.
“We guarantee that we’re here and we’re not here not just because masaya na kami, kuntento na kami na nakapasok na kami sa semis,” Ravena said. “We’re gonna fight for it, we’re gonna fight for that finals slot.”
“Schedule’s tough, playing Magnolia, playing a peaking Magnolia team and a lot of guards who can really defend,” he added. “Ngayon it's all about finding ways, it’s all about wanting it more. It’s gonna be a dogfight.”