KIEFER Ravena admitted feeling the itch to play once again for Ateneo as he watched his former team play University of the Philippines from the stands of the Mall of Asia Arena.
“The whole 40 minutes,” said Ravena, when asked if there was a point in the game that he wanted to suit up again for Ateneo, “especially kapag nagtu-turnover. Gusto mong i-assert ‘yung sarili mo.”
Even his girlfriend, former Ateneo volleyball superstar Alyssa Valdez, had to endure Ravena’s restlessness as he tried to (over-)analyze the game.
“Medyo mahirap kasi sabi ni Alyssa para raw ako nagco-coach. Hindi na raw ako enjoyable kasama kasi ina-analyze ko lahat ng bagay. Mahirap. Kahit ako, adjustment period. I miss playing for Ateneo, for the blue and white,” said Ravena.
The Blue Eagles' 79-64 win over UP came as assurance that the team will be fine without him.
“Pero masaya rin kasi nakikita mo na kaya naman pala kapag wala. It’s a matter of them adjusting to the roles they have now,” said Ravena.
Ravena watched the Blue Eagles for the first time since playing out his fifth and final season with the team last year. So far, he likes the potential of the team that is now built around a young nucleus.
“The toughness is there. Malayo ang mararating ng team. People have to understand that this team is a team of 19 to 20 years old playing against older guys. Just try to fit in and do the best they can. ‘Yun ang pinaka-importante. They have been giving their 110 percent sa game,” said Ravena.
Ravena largely credited Ateneo consultant Tab Baldwin and head coach Sandy Arespacochaga for the great strides the team has been making on the way to a 4-2 win-loss start.
“Coach Tab and coach Sandy have been doing a great job preparing the kids mentally kasi mga bata ‘yan eh, kailangan ‘yung mental preparation. Siguro they need extra time to put in para pulido lahat when it comes to execution,” said Ravena.
Ravena believes Ateneo will be a force to b e reckoned with this season.
“I’m very happy for the team. I’m sure they’ll make the identity and make people feel their identity soon. My wish lang is maging healthy lahat,” said the former league MVP.