TO SUM it up, Kiefer Ravena’s competitive drive prevailed at the start. Unfortunately, the body just couldn’t respond.
The Ateneo star player said he just couldn’t see himself missing a UAAP game despite nursing a right ankle sprain that hampered his mobility during the start of the five-time champion Blue Eagles’ defense of their men’s basketball crown.
“Siguro the competitive nature of myself, hindi ko mapigilan,” Ravena said shortly after the team’s 54-64 loss against the National University Bulldogs.
“The coaching staff told me not to play but knowing me, knowing myself, hindi ko talaga natiis. Sabi ko sa manager at sa parents ko, hindi ko talaga kayang tiisin.”
The former Rookie of the Year had contrasting tweets on Saturday about his status on the team’s opening game against the Bulldogs. Initially, he said on his Twitter account (@kieferravena) that he will not play against the Bulldogs, only to express “I will play” later on.
Ateneo coach Bo Perasol also had a contrasting take on the matter, saying the coaching staff intended to rest their prized star for the game, but afterwards said Ravena’s ankles were feeling better.
“The coaching staff eventually fielded him as a second stringer despite the injury he said to have sustained in practice.
“Kanina kasi gusto niyang maramdaman sarili niya,” Perasol said. “Bilang number one player ko, I need to agree to that kasi hinahanda rin niya sarili niya sa Wednesday (against Far Eastern University) para hindi na rin siya manibago.”
Ravena said: “I didn’t want to confuse anybody if I will play or not. I don’t want to miss a UAAP game. Pinilit ko talaga sarili ko so I rested so much before the game.”
But after playing for eight minutes in the first half, Ravena sat on the bench the entire second half. He later admitted he didn’t have his legs because of the injury.
“Nakita niyo rin na wala akong explosiveness kanina. Everything was lacking. I couldn’t push my right leg which is my strong leg. Ma-pe-pressure lang ako, mata-trap lang ako,” he said.
“Talagang hindi siya maka-explode,” Perasol admitted. “Knowing him, gusto pa niyang maglaro pero kailangan namin siya. Mahihirapan kami without him.”
In sizing up the game, Ravena was proud his teammates engineered a comeback try from 24 points down before bowing to the Bulldogs.
“Mabigat ‘yung third quarter run ng NU, but you could see naman na last five mintues, nakadikit pa kami. Nagkatalo lang sa end game,” he said.
For the Eagles’ next game against the Tamaraws, Ravena said with finality that he will definitely play.
“I’m sure to play. Hindi ko na siguro kailangang mag-tweet. I’m telling you guys that I’m going to play,” said Ravena to a handful of sportswriters.