SINGAPORE - Prior to the 28th Southeast Asian Games, Kiefer Ravena said he and his teammates will have to migrate elsewhere if the Philippines fails to land the gold medal here.
He almost went visa-hunting on Sunday night.
Ravena and the Gilas cadets were made to sweat in a thrilling game before a huge crowd at the OCBC Arena, needing to overcome a 10-point half deficit before pulling off an 80-75 victory over a rugged Thailand side.
Ravena struggled in the game but was there when the Philippines needed him, hitting a clutch three-pointer with 16.2 seconds left that all but secured the win before a nervous, pro-Filipino crowd.
By hitting the big basket, the Ateneo star also assured he and the entire team are still welcome to go home by the time these Games are over.
"Gusto kong umuwi ng Pilipinas," Ravena said sheepishly after the win, remembering his pre-tournament promise.
The Ateneo star finished with 12 points but said he was no longer 100 percent during the course of the game, saying he 'bruised something' following one of his drives to the basket.
"I got injured sa drive. I bruised something," he said.
Still, Ravena had the courage to take - and make - that three-pointer in the endgame, saying that the last thing he wanted to do was to let his teammates and countrymen down.
"I think just with the confidence na binibigay sa akin ng coaching staff, teammates ko sa akin," said Ravena when asked what was on his mind in that crucial play.
Ravena, though, was quick to say it was a team win.
"Meron mang individual performances na nag-standout, it was a team win," Ravena, who is on course for a third SEA Games gold medal, said. "We wanted to play tomorrow (sa finals)."
Watch the post-game interview