Kiefer Ravena says Ateneo made perfect choice in Tab Baldwin: 'He's right man for job'
Kiefer Ravena played for Tab Baldwin in the Gilas cadet side that won the gold medal in the last SEA Games. Jerome Ascano

HE may have played out his final year with Ateneo, but Kiefer Ravena is definitely excited for Ateneo’s campaign in the UAAP next season.

And Tab Baldwin being the new coach of the Blue Eagles has a lot to do with that.

“I think I will enjoy watching the team because I know how the system of coach Tab is run,” said Ravena on Monday night just before joining Baldwin and the rest of the Gilas Pilipinas team during its weekly practice session at the Meralco gym.

Just hours earlier, Baldwin was formally named head coach of one of the most successful basketball programs in Philippine college in a move that quickly stirred excitement in the Ateneo community.

Count Ravena among those thrilled over Baldwin's arrival.

“It’s good for the guys, although I won’t be able to play with them anymore,” said the two-time league MVP. “It’s definitely beneficial to the program, it’s definitely beneficial to the team.”

[See Baldwin appointment facing legal hurdle, says Guiao]

Ravena admitted he couldn’t think of any other person cut out for the job than Baldwin himself.

“Coach Tab is the right man for the job,” he said of the same man who handled him when Ravena suited up for the Gilas cadet team which won the gold medal in this year’s Southeast Asian Games.

Although it didn’t surprise the son of former players Bong and Mozzy Ravena when Baldwin was handed the Ateneo coaching job, the one thing that concerns him was how the 55-year-old American-New Zealander will handle his time with Ateneo and Gilas Pilipinas.

“That’s the only surprise for me, how is he going to balance Gilas and Ateneo,” he said.

[See Baldwin: 'Flag and country first']

Still, the good thing, according to Ravena, is Ateneo finally having a coach after the three-year tenure of Bo Perasol expired at season’s end.

“At least my coach na kami,” he said.

Asked if he would have preferred to stay on and played a final year – if ever – with the Blue Eagles under coach Tab, Ravena flashed a sheepish smile.

“Five is enough,” he said.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @gerardmos