KIEFER Ravena is taking an expanded role with Ateneo, determined to finish his college career with a flourish.
A recent tune-up match pitting the Blue Eagles against former Ateneo players gave a glimpse of Ravena’s improved game.
“You have to find ways to be a scorer, creator and facilitator as well,” Ravena told Spin.ph. “Being the leader of this team, I have to lead by example.”
The reigning Most Valuable Player is going for nothing but the title in Season 78, determined to finish his college career with a flourish after a disappointing season that saw the Eagles the top the eliminations only to miss the finals.
Ravena’s Blue Eagles beat an Ateneo alumni team led by Greg Slaughter, Nico Salva, Emman Monfort, Jai Reyes, and Doug Kramer and coached by Norman Black in a tune-up game held at the Blue Eagle Gym as build-up for Season 78.
“It’s been a great ride and I’m hoping for the best,” Ravena said. “I’m really excited for this year. A lot of promise and a lot of expectations as well. Hopefully, we can stay healthy all season.”
Ravena does need to step up as a leader, with the Ateneo squad for Season 78 featuring eight newcomers led by Jerie Pingoy, who is set to finally play for the Blue Eagles after sitting out for two years following his controversial transfer from Far Eastern University.
Hubert Cani is also part of the line-up, although his eligibility remains uncertain.
Nieto twins Mike and Matt, Adrian Wong, Isaac Go, Aaron Black, and African reinforcement Chibueze Ikeh are the other new faces in the squad.
Ravena understands it will not be easy for the new players, but he is pushing them to deliver right in their first season.
“I’m just doing my best to help them be ready when the time comes. I had a terrible debut in my UAAP. Ayokong mangyari sa kanila ’yun because we need them. Hopefully, makatulong sila,” said Ravena, noting that other schools have beefed up their squads in the offseason.
“UP’s import is now eligible. Adamson will be there. UE, I heard, is very fast and a hard team to beat. Of course, there’s the NUs, the FEUs, the La Salles, the USTs. Kailangan ang main focus is on the game itself.
“We’ve beaten all the teams in the past two years, except for NU, so siguro we know what it takes to beat them and focus on it.
Ravena only hopes that their preparation for Season 78 will be enough to claim a championship in his final year before he turns pro.
“Eto wala na talaga. No more looking back. Every year, you want to improve. I pride myself to push myself so that I could improve everything and give the team the best possible chance to succeed. Hopefully, ’yung pinaghirapan namin ngayon, hindi lang ako, pati coaching staff, everyone, magawa namin ngayon,” Ravena said.