ATENEO sophomore Kiefer Ravena on Wednesday said he doesn’t mind being called a "good actor" for his ability to sell calls to the referees, insisting that it is part of the game.
“Part of the game,” the Ateneo star told Spin.ph on Wednesday, a day before Ateneo goes for a sweep of the UAAP seniors basketball best-of-three finals against University of Santo Tomas.
On Tuesday, no less than UAAP commissioner Ato Badolato called Ravena a "very good actor" as his antics in the dying seconds helped influence the referees to call a fifth and final foul on UST center Karim Abdul.
“We have reviewed the tape and the hand of Abdul got all ball but his elbow caught the body of Kiefer. And you know, Kiefer is a very good actor, he managed (to get) a foul (called),” said Badolato.
The foul proved to be crucial as it enabled Ateneo to execute the game-clinching play which Ravena finished off himself by scoring on a clutch, pull-up jumper with eight seconds to play in Game One, 83-78.
So far, there have been mixed reactions on the accusations that Ravena often overreacts to contact to bait referees into calling fouls on opponents.
UST coach Pido Jarencio, who has ranted against the Abdul foul after the loss, said: “Alam mo naman si Ravena, di pa tinatamaan naggaga-ganyan na.”
For his part, Ravena is amused with the comments about his 'acting skills' and taking the criticism in stride.
“Personally, nakakatawa lang na tinawag ako na very good actor ni Coach Ato. ‘Yung ibang tao, sinasabi ‘best actor’ daw ako. It’s fun. I take it positively. No problem naman," said the Ateneo star.
“Siguro kung ‘yun ang tingin sa akin, good man or bad, wala naman siyang kaso sa akin … Hindi naman kami nagrereklamo,” said Ravena.
Last season's Rookie of the Year reiterated that ‘selling calls’ is also done by other players in the UAAP and even in the NBA. “Kevin Ferrer also sells calls,” he said, citing the UST forward as an example.
“It is something you can’t take away from basketball. Kahit sa NBA, meron 'nun. Kung ano sinasabi ng tao, it’s okay. ‘Yun ang gusto nilang sabihin. Part of their nature ‘yung kung anong gusto nilang sabihin,” Ravena added.
However, NBA officials have launched a crackdown on repeated 'flopping' and starting in the coming season will mete out heavy penalties on players who overreact to contact in a bid to sell calls.
Starting this season, NBA players will be fined US$5,000 for a second violation. The fines increase to US$10,000 (around P410,000) for a third offense, US$15,000 for a fourth and US$30,000 the fifth time. Six or more could lead to a suspension.
"Flops have no place in our game — they either fool referees into calling undeserved fouls or fool fans into thinking the referees missed a foul call," NBA vice-president of basketball operations Stu Jackson said.
Ravena, however, insisted that he is not a habitual flopper and said he understood the furore over the foul on Abdul, coming as it did during the most critical part of Game One.
“Hindi ko naman siya sinasadya (selling calls) at laging ginagawa. Nata-timing lang. Hindi mo rin masisisi (ang mga comments), because it (happened) in the heat of the moment. I don’t blame them,” said Ravena.