KIEFER Ravena said it was only his instinct to protect his teammate which prompted him to shove Joseph Nalos after the Adamson guard committed a hard foul on Ateneo teammate Vince Tolentino in their UAAP men’s basketball game on Saturday.
Ravena was slapped with an unsportsmanlike foul midway through the third quarter for the shoving incident that marred the Blue Eagles’ 87-72 win over the Falcons.
Cooler heads were quick to step in and prevent the situation from escalating.
Prior to the incident, Tolentino took a hard fall after getting fouled by Nalos during an Ateneo offensive play.
Ravena said Tolentino’s fall led him to react that way, but later apologized to Adamson head coach Mike Fermin for the shoving episode.
“Spur of the moment,” said Ravena during the postgame interview, when asked about it.
“Nagulat din ako kasi nakita kong sumalpok ang ulo ni Vince. I think teammate instinct lang.”
“I apologized to coach Mike and coach Vince (Hizon) for the incident. It’s just on-court instincts. Baka hindi rin sinasadya. Probably he just broke his fall,” said the national team member.
Supporters of the Ateneo star aired concern over the incident fearing it would jeopardize his bid for back-to-back Most Valuable Player awards. Ravena leads the race for the league’s top individual award at the end of the first round.
But it turned out the graduating Blue Eagle guard is still eligible for the MVP plum since UAAP rules only disqualify a player from winning the coveted award if he gets suspended or thrown out of the match.
Ravena made it clear though he will choose protecting his teammate inside the court even though it will lead to his disqualification from winning another MVP.
“Siguro okay na ‘yun kesa masaktan teammate ko,” he said.