Kiefer Ravena heaves sigh of relief as NLEX barely avoids another letdown
NLEX rookie Kiefer Ravena was held to nine points by Phoenix's defense. Marlo Cueto

BIÑAN, Laguna – Kiefer Ravena heaved a sigh of relief after NLEX finally barged into the win column of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup via hard-earned 120-115 overtime win over Phoenix on Friday night.

After averaging 17.7 points in his first three games of the conference, the former Ateneo star was held to just nine points on 4-of-12 shooting in one of his worst starts as a pro.

But Ravena credited import Arnett Moultrie for carrying the team on his shoulders and his teammates for stepping up as the Road Warriors finally ended a run of three losses.

“Medyo malaki-laking tinik 'yun knowing that we’re barely breathing kumbaga sa tubig, nandito na 'yung tubig sa amin,” Ravena said, pointing to his neck. “Kumbaga survival mode na lang, ‘di ba? But our import came through … and everybody else stepped up.”

“We kind of played not to lose (in the end) instead of fighting it out and really waiting for the final buzzer but again we’ll take it,” he added. “Nandito kami sa sitwasyon na hindi pwedeng maging choosy sa mga panalo.”

Despite a so-so offensive showing, Ravena compensated in other ways, dishing out four of the Road Warriors’ whopping 37 assists that underlined their balanced attack.

“It just goes to show the hours and hours of hard work and repetition na ginagawa namin lumabas na ngayon with Alex, Larry, everybody else stepping up from the three,” Ravena said. “JR saka si Juami and sa amin naman parang the past three games na natatalo kami, tatlo lang ang nakaka-score.”

“Now it’s all spread out and we had our usual numbers from our net which was very key to our victory tonight,” he added. 'Whatever Ravena’s offensive output, what matters is they come out victorious.

“Lalo na ngayon na 1-3, seven games left in the conference and now, kahit before naman every game counts but lahat nagma-matter na talaga,” the 24-year-old playmaker said.

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