THEY'RE supposed to be the biggest names in college basketball perenially vying for UAAP supremacy, their rivalry magnified by the fact that they belong to two teams with a long history of animosity.
But the truth it, Kiefer Ravena and Jeron Teng good friends.
“We don’t consider ourselves besties but iba na rin ‘yung may pinagsamahan," Ateneo star Ravena said after getting a rare chance to play with his rival from De La Salle during Allen Iverson's 'All In' charity game on Wednesday night.
Long before ending up on opposite ends of the biggest rivalry in college basketball, Ravena and Teng said they've known and grown fond of each other in the times they have met both on and off the court.
The two varsity stars happen to move in the same circle being members of prominent basketball families and ended up as teammates in the Philippine youth team in the past.
Mutual respect has grown from there.
“Akala ng lahat ng tao, it’s all business when it comes to both of us. But there is a deeper story to our friendship na people really wouldn’t believe it until nakilala nila kaming dalawa,” said Ravena.
“Siguro ‘yung mga tao, ginagawan lang ng issue kasi La Salle-Ateneo,” Teng said. “Bata pa lang kami, kami-kami na ang makakasama. ‘Yung parents namin, nasa basketball din. Matagal ko na kilala si Kiefer.”
That friendship, Ravena said, was forged by experiences they shared on the court - both as teammates and as rivals.
"May mga hardships din kaming pinagdaanan sa RP team, ‘yung mga talo, ‘yung mga glorious moments. Palaban lang talaga kami,” said Ravena.
Teng said: “Sanay na kami sa isa’t isa dahil sa RP team pa lang, magkasama na kami. Alam na namin kung paano maglaro ang isa’t isa.”
It helps that both have a dogged desire to win every game they play.
“Masarap kalaro si Jeron. Palaban lang talaga kami. Kaya kapag magkakampi kami, it’s nice to have a teammate na ayaw magpatalo. Nagtitinginan na lang kami na parang alam na namin na ‘Tara na, game na ‘to,” said Ravena.
But as much as they enjoyed the one time they played as teammates, Teng said it will make no difference the next time the two cross paths again in the UAAP as rivals.
“Magkakalaban pa rin kami next time,” said Teng.