Kiefer is the stabilizing force of young Gilas crew at SEA Games

Paul Lintag on Aug 19, 2017 04:02 PM
Kiefer is the stabilizing force of young Gilas at SEA Games
Making his SEA Games debut back in 2011, when he wasn't even the top guy in Ateneo, Ravena has taken responsibility of leading this particular Gilas team that is tasked of holding the fort in the ASEAN region.

Kiefer Ravena is gunning for a record fourth Southeast Asian Games gold medal but he perfectly understands that the Gilas team mission of re-asserting the country's basketball mastery in the region takes priority over whatever personal achievement he's trying to chase.

Making his SEA Games debut back in 2011, when he wasn't even the top guy in Ateneo, Ravena has taken responsibility of leading this particular Gilas team that is tasked of holding the fort in the ASEAN region.

The Philippines has been the top dog in basketball at the SEA Games and the country has won all gold medals in the sport since 1991.

And as if retaining gold is not enough of a motivation, the country's bitter loss in the 2017 FIBA-Asia Cup over at Lebanon adds more fuel to the fire of this young Chooks-to-Go Gilas crew.

"Kailangan naming ibawi ang mga kuya namin," Ravena said, referring to Gilas' 32-point quarterfinal loss to rival South Korea.

"Motiation for us to want it even more [gold medal], be hungrier, and as [assistant] coach Jimmy [Alapag] reminds us, the target in our back gets bigger and bigger. Yung focus namin has to be sharper and shaper also," he added.

After the Philippines struggled in capturing the gold medal two years ago, there is strong talk of a brewing upset in Malaysia this time around.

However, until Gilas Pilipinas actually loses, the country remains as the undisputed king of basketball in this side of the world.

"Kung ano man ang sinasabi nila na they're [Asean neighbors] catching up, we'll show them na they will have a lot of catching up to do," a defiant Kiefer said.

"We know we have a good basketball program with Chooks to Go, the national team, the SBP, and the PBA, they're putting us in a situation to succeed, so it's still up to us to take that into action," he added.

With three SEA Games gold medals already, Kiefer Ravena is relied upon to be the stabilizing presence of the Philippine men's national team in Kuala Lumpur.

His wealth of experience in this tournament should come in handy. The prize? A record fourth gold medal for him and some more bragging rights for the Philippines, the best basketball team in this side of the planet.

"If I’m tasked to be one of the veterans, since I’m gunning for my fourth SEA Games gold already, tinutulungan ko rin ang teammates ko para makaadjust agad kasi nga bago yung team. Tapos wala yung oras, yung oras, hindi sa side namin," Ravena said.

"Yung experience ko from the past SEA Games, tinuturo ko lang sa kanila, how other teams play, how the refs call the game, how the fans will be in very hostile environments like Malaysia. We have to be aware of everything and prepared for anything actually," he added.

 


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