KIEFER Ravena was proud to see his brother Thirdy Ravena and the Ateneo Blue Eagles complete a sweep of UAAP Season 81 Finals, even if he stayed a few kilometers away from the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
The two-time UAAP MVP watched the Blue Eagles beat the University of the Philippines, 99-81, via live stream while he was at The Arena in San Juan to support sister Dani Ravena of Ateneo-Motolite and his girlfriend Alyssa Valdez of Creamline in Game One of the PVL Season 2 Open Conference Finals .
Kiefer was just proud to see his brother blossom from a rookie during his fourth year into a superstar with two championships under his belt.
“It was just about time. Everybody knew his ceiling was really high coming into college,” Kiefer told reporters. “He just needed a break and, I guess, Coach Tab [Baldwin] was his break.”
“Siguro iba din talaga kapag masipag ka. I've seen him blossom into the superstar that he is now. I'm just so proud, kami ng parents ko, pati kay Dani. It just goes to show if you stick together as a family and guide each other despite the trials that have or will happen. Importante is we stick as one.”
The 5-foot-11 playmaker admitted his brother didn’t have a lot of great games in the elimination round, but expected him to step up in the playoffs.
“I expected something from him in the Finals. I said, 'You didn't give good numbers and that's what people expect from you, so you better perform during the finals,’” he said. “Not to put any pressure on him, but that boy loves the stage, loves to be in the Finals.”
The Team Pilipinas standout said 'the beauty of coach Tab's system' enabled Thirdy and the other Eagles to spread their wings.
“He lets everybody shine. When it mattered, Matt Nieto, Thirdy, Ange (Koame) delivered,” he said. “‘Yung mga ganyang championship ang sarap ipanalo. Kahit akala ng lahat ang dali-dali; people thought na it was to be a 14-0 season. Imagine the burden the kids had to start the season. It's finally done.”
The NLEX Road Warrior shared that he didn’t give Thirdy a pep talk before the game, but sent a text message hours before the game saying, ‘tapusin na nila kasi ayaw nilang buhayin 'yung ganitong team [like UP].'
“I didn't wanna bother him. I'm pretty sure marami nang tumatakbo sa isip niya, ayaw ko ng dumagdag. I just texted him a few hours before the game,” the eldest among the three Ravena siblings said.
Thirdy simply replied ‘Thank You’ and let his game do the talking, unleashing 38 points to deliver the school’s second straight title, matching Kiefer’s number of championships.
When Thirdy tied his career high with a ferocious slam late in the fourth quarter, Kiefer shared that he prayed head coach Tab Baldwin would take Thirdy out of the game so he could not beat his career-high.
“Kanina, I was praying na ilabas na siya noong naka-38 na siya. Pati ba naman 'yun kukunin niya pa sa akin, 'di ba?” said Kiefer, laughing. “Nakadalawang championship na nga, dalawang MVP pa. 'Yung 38 na lang saving grace ko eh. Okay lang na masabing pantay. Noong nilabas na siya, natuwa pa ako kesa noong nag-champion sila.”
Kiefer beamed that Thirdy has a chance to best him with two Finals MVP — which he failed to get in his five-year career — and two championships.
“He's going for a third one just so he can say he can beat me. I'm pretty sure that's his biggest motivation right now,” he said. “It has been going on in the house since he didn't have one. Now, I'm afraid he's gonna get one in his senior year. I know he won't let anything happen, nothing in his way can stop him.“
When it comes to the debate who is the better Ravena, Kiefer said that he’s happy to share it with his younger brother.
“On who's the better Ravena, I'm happy to share it with him. Kaya naman na kaming dalawa parehas,” he said. “For now, siguro na hindi ako naglalaro, bigay muna natin sa kanya.”