KIEFER Ravena has time and again rescued Ateneo from the jaws of defeat, hitting one game-winning shot after another for the Blue Eagles this season.
But after failing to save the Eagles in a 76-66 loss to the National University Bulldogs, Ravena said it’s about time the team begins to abandon its bad habit of putting itself in big holes.
“You can’t have that mindset of always catching up in the end,” said Ravena, obviously referring to another flat start by the Eagles against the Bulldogs. “It’s a very, very, very bad habit.”
Several times in the first round eliminations, Ateneo found itself trailing for most of its games, only for Ravena to bring them back with his usual late-game heroics.
There’s no excuse this time as Ravena blamed himself and his co-starters for the slow start.
“It could have been a different story if we didn’t start that way. ‘Yung blame talaga is with our starters. Imbis na we set the tone positively, naging negative pa kasi we are a young team and what the young players see with the starters. Siyempre, ‘yun ‘yung malalabas nila. We take full responsibility for that,” said Ravena.
The Eagles fell to 7-3 overall in a tie for third place with their tormentors.
The Bulldogs started out with a 22-4 lead thanks to an all-around effort on both ends of the floor. They shot 75 percent from the field in the first quarter, while complementing it with defense as Alfred Aroga blocked seven of Ateneo’s eight shots in the first half.
“Ang nag-du-dwell lang talaga ako ‘yung how we started,” said Ravena. “That was the story of the game. You can’t let a team shoot 75 freaking percent.”
The Eagles tried to mount a comeback as an 8-0 run trimmed the Bulldogs’ lead to 60-55. The Bulldogs, however, answered with nine straight points led by Troy Rosario to keep Ateneo at bay.
A composed NU squad didn’t surprise Ravena.
“I’ve been under coach Eric (Altamirano) before and I know how he wants his team to be composed. So having a start like that gave NU confidence. Mahirap kalaban ‘yun. NU is very composed. Mahirap ma-rattle ‘yung team na ‘yan” said Ravena.