So Ateneo de Manila University, how are you doing in your letting go of Kiefer Ravena?
Ravena, the back-to-back MVP and two-time champion who played his last collegiate game two weeks ago, will unquestionably go down in history as one of the finest Blue Eagles.
You can even argue that he is the best of them all, but bottom line still is that he’s no longer in Katipunan.
Unbelievable as it may seem, however, everything may just be all right for Ateneo if things go as planned and Ravena’s long-time understudy simply fills in his spot next season.
Who could match, or even come close, to “The Phenom,” you ask? Well, it’s just this little somebody people have been calling “Next Phenom” for about a while now.
Just waiting to be unleashed in the Seniors division, reigning champion and Finals MVP Jolo Mendoza is at the forefront of the Blue Eaglets’ repeat bid. He is norming 21 points in 48 percent shooting in only 22 minutes while leading his team to a 5-1 record.
Numbers like those are why not a few people are giving Mendoza superlatives like “Next Phenom” or “The Future.” Just ask Mark Dyke and last year’s Nazareth School of National University whom he torched for 30 points – 19 in the second quarter alone – during the deciding game of the Finals.
Apparently, seeing the kid’s talent right from the start is also one of Ravena’s proudest moments. “I kinda saw a better version of me in Jolo,” he answered when asked why he took Mendoza under his wing.
He then continued, “When I was a kid, everybody was telling me you’ll be good. Jolo was already good at his age (then).”
Per both their recollection, Ravena began reaching out to and mentoring Mendoza back when the former was a freshman in college and the latter was only in Grade 7. “Nung bata pa lang si Jolo, I would see him go up against older guys and play as if it’s his age group,” he shared.
For his part, the current King Eaglet was quick to admit how much the current King Eagle’s mentoring has meant to him. “Sobrang malaking blessing sa akin kasi wala namang nagsabi sa kanya to do that,” he told ABS-CBN Sports.
Mendoza narrated that it was always Ravena’s initiative to contact him so that the two of them could shoot or workout together. “Sobrang thankful talaga ako sa kanya,” he said.
Again, the bridging from one “Phenom” to the next is only great for Katipunan, if and only if, the current King Eaglet indeed becomes a Blue Eagle.
For now, however, he wants to keep mum about his future plans while he focuses on defending the championship.
As he put it, “Wala pa muna ngayon kasi ongoing pa yung season.”
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