ATENEO coach Bo Perasol is hoping season MVP Kiefer Ravena will stay on with the Blue Eagles in his last playing year next season, when the team hopes to get a boost from red-shirting foreign players.
“No matter what happens, kahit sino naman nandyan, but of course, you would want Kiefer to continue, but he’s graduating so it’s really up to him. Whatever he decides on, we’re going to respect that,” Perasol said after the top seed's season ended in disappointment after a loss to National University.
Perasol’s last play was for Ravena to go hard to the basket, but the six-foot Ateneo guard’s layup got blocked by Alfred Aroga to seal NU’s return to the UAAP Finals after a 44-year absence.
“Everybody knows the ball will go to Kiefer, whether he hits a three-point shot or two-point shot, but it (play) happened as planned. They (Bulldogs) were just too quick to block the shot,” said Perasol after Ateneo became just the second top seed to lose to a No. 4 squad since the UAAP introduced the Final Four format in 1994.
The Blue Eagles finished the double-round eliminations with an 11-3 win-loss record on the way to grabbing the No. 1 seeding behind the leadership of Ravena, who averaged UAAP career-high numbers of 21.2 points, 5.9 rebounds and 5.5 assists.
The King Eagle though struggled against the Bulldogs in the Final Four after finishing with a frigid 25.4 percent shooting from the field.
“Looking back at what we have done as a team, though we weren’t able to go all the way, I think with what we were able to do, we were able to do something for ourselves this season,” said Perasol, who succeeded Norman Black before the start of UAAP Season 76.
“Again, not to say we’re happy where we are, but we fell short, that’s the bottomline of that.”
For next season, the soft-spoken Ateneo coach said they have some African recruits, who could reinforce them in the middle, the way Aroga has done for the Bulldogs this season.
“Our African guys are eligible to play now, but they still have to understand what we’re doing. But whoever it is, they also have to have chemistry with all the others,” he added.