STAR HOTSHOT: Rafi Reavis will be forever relevant
Paul Lintag on Mar 29, 2018 10:14 PM
It's already 2018 and Rafi Reavis is still out there trying to win championships.
It was early in 2017 when Rafi Reavis proved that he's still relevant.
More than just relevant, in fact.
In Game 2 of the Manila Clasico semifinals featuring Ginebra and Star, Reavis was the "star" for the Hotshots in the clutch, grabbing two crucial offensive rebounds in the last 20 seconds to deny the Gin Kings any chance of a "Never Say Die" comeback.
With seven seconds to go in the ball game, the then 39-year-old Rafi calmly made two pressure-packed free throws and Star took a 2-0 lead in the best-of-7.
"I got a lot left in the tank, man. A lot left," Reavis said then.
He was right.
Literally a week after his heroics against Ginebra in Game 2 of last year's series, Reavis played his best game in a long, long time in Game 5.
Rafi dropped 17 points and 13 rebounds, leading the Hotshots to a crucial 3-2 lead.
While Star ended up losing in seven games, that was perhaps Reavis' best performance in the last four or five years, including the current year we're having right now.
And yet even then, the veteran forward was the least surprised. It's as if he knew.
He's going to be relevant in the league until he decides he's done.
"I'm not surprised at all. That's me," Reavis said in 2017.
"That's the way I play. That's what I'm always trying to do, just be a leader, trying to do what's needed. The only thing that matters is the W. However that comes, I'll go with it," he added.
ALL I DO IS WIN
It's kinda cool for Rafi Reavis to say that he'll go with winning, regardless of how his team gets there.
Over the course of his current 16-year PBA career, Reavis has done a lot of winning.
Seriously, a lot.
Rafi has 10 PBA championships and up until the 2017 Commissioner's Cup, he was the winningest active player in the league.
He's won with different teams as well. Reavis picked up his first pair of titles with the old Coca-Cola Tigers before winning another two with Brgy. Ginebra.
When he landed at Purefoods, Reavis would win six more championships, including the Grand Slam in 2014.
Simply put, Rafi Reavis is an asset to any team. A valuable asset.
He's done all that winning in a way only he knows how.
"Defense. Defense wins championships," Reavis said.
"I don't care about the glamour, the points, the fame. I don't need that, that's not what gets me paid. Being part of a team that was winning a championship, that's all I care about. I'm team first and I'm all about the big goal, the big picture," he added.
Rafi's Twitter handle is @Plastikman.
If it sounds familiar, it's almost a play on the local comics superhero "Lastikman" which is a character is most definitely based from Marvel's Mister Fantastic.
Fifteen years ago in 2003, "Bossing" Vic Sotto gave the character life in a movie and while this useless rambling doesn't necessarily say and mean that Rafi was inspired by it and put his own twist to the name, it does make some sense.
Reavis has some pretty long arms and legs, which come in handy while he's trying to defend the paint.
His physical gifts and his brilliant mind make him the basketball player that he is: a player relevant to this day. More than relevant, in fact.
"He's very smart, ang taas ng basketball IQ niya. Plus the fact na ano siya, hindi siya nagpapabaya. Yung katawan niya, inaalagaan niya talaga," Chito Victolero said of Reavis.
Victolero was teammates with Rafi in the old MBA and was a second-round pick in the 2002 Draft. Reavis was the no. 2 overall pick.
Now he's Reavis' head coach with Magnolia.
"He won a lot of championships and he knows what to do. Siguro mas beterano pa siya sakin in terms of dun sa loob ng court eh. I trust him very much and alam ko kung ano yung ginagawa niya," Victolero added.
Sticking with the superhero theme, Reavis wants to add something to his list of achievements that's outside of winning championships.
Plastikman wants to outlast the Rock in the PBA.
"I'm trying to take care of myself and that guy, he's amazing," 40-year-old Reavis said of 45-year-old Asi Taulava, NLEX's center and the 2003 PBA Most Valuable Player that is still going strong as well.
"I think he just had a birthday recently and it's going to make it a little harder for me but I can do it. I'm having fun. And I think as long as I play for a guy like coach Chito, I can meet that goal," he added.
Rafi Reavis was the league's winningest active player up until the 2017 Commissioner's Cup.
When San Miguel Beer won last year's mid-season prize, Yancy De Ocampo joined Reavis at the top with 10 title each.
Yancy was the no. 1 pick in 2002, one spot ahead of Rafi. San Miguel and Magnolia are currently locked in a heated Finals for the 2018 PBA Philippine Cup and either De Ocampo or Reavis will take over as the winningest active player in less than two weeks time.
"None of that really means anything to me," Reavis said though, doubling down on his team-first mentality.
"I think it will probably mean something when I'm all said and done and my career is over with, but I'm still an active player. I have a duty to perform. It's all great and it's all glory but at the end of the day it doesn't really mean anything," he added.
ALL I WANT TO DO IS KEEP WINNING
It was in early 2017 when Rafi Reavis made it known that he still has a lot left in his tank.
Fast forward to 2018 in Game 1 of the Philippine Cup Finals against San Miguel and Reavis practically won the Purefoods franchise yet another Finals game.
With the Hotshots holding on to a two-point lead with 2.2 seconds, Reavis disrupted San Miguel's final offensive possession basically by himself to make sure Magnolia completed a comeback from 20 points down.
Rafi first tipped the inbound pass to foil the Beermen's first option for June Mar Fajardo and after Arwind Santos picked the ball up to shoot a game-tying jumper, Reavis was there too to block the shot.
Rafi Reavis has won a lot but he wants to keep winning.
"We're still active so we're still out there trying to get one more," he said.
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