Kiefer Ravena: We didn't want to let the crowd down
Philip Matel on Feb 25, 2018 11:24 PM
Kiefer Ravena seemed to exhibit confidence in the big stage, and was boosted by the strong roars of the home crowd as Gilas came back and wrested the lead away from Japan.
As the Akatsuki Five was slowly holding its vise grip all over Gilas Pilipinas, leading by as much as 16, things seemed bleak and was headed to the wrong direction for the Philippine national team.
Luckily, NLEX rookie phenom Kiefer Ravena was subbed in and went on a scoring tear in the latter part of the first quarter, tallying eight points, pulling the Filipinos to within four, 20-16.
In that run, Ravena exhibited confidence in the big stage, and was boosted by the strong roars of the home crowd.
Ravena seemed to downplay his key role in the comeback, deferring to the team's system as the key to Gilas' crucial run, and had thousands of thoughts going through his mind: the crowd.
"Lahat naman kami ready magstep up, especially dito sa big stage. We just didn't want to let the crowd down, laking bagay ng energy na binibigay nila so at this stage, all we have to do is think about the things that we did right and carry it over to the next round."
Finishing with 13 points in the game, the former Ateneo Blue Eagle could not help but wonder where the team would be if it were not for the finishing heroics of Gilas veteran Jayson Castro, who went off the window and nailed a floater that put Gilas up buy four, 88-84, with 10.6 ticks left in the game.
Ravena added that Castro's clutchness was very much missed in the Australia game, a game which saw Gilas blow a six-point lead midway through the third quarter.
The guard also credits naturalized center Andray Blatche for his big 18-point, 16-rebound performance, crediting his overall work in the game as one of the contributors to the win.
"Jayson, that's one big thing we've missed during the Australia game. Our finisher. You can say whatever you want to say about Andray, but he delivered tonight. That's what really mattered because we made it to the second round and giving us a good position as the wins carry over so malaking bagay talaga ang ginawa ni Andray at ni Jayson."
Although Ravena seemed poised in the toughest stretches of the game, the 24-year old gave recognition to the extra work they had been doing off the court.
"In terms of preparing for the big stage, siguro malaking bagay yung araw araw mong nakakasama yung mga pinakamagaling na players dito sa atin."
"Especially with the trust of the coaching staff, hindi naman makukuha yun kung hindi nagtitiwala sayo yung coaching staff sayo, teammates mo so i guess preparation is a matter of playing together, trusting the system, trusting yourself as well."
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