I just want to leave something behind for the young ones --- Kiefer Ravena
Mark Escarlote on Sep 05, 2015 11:02 AM
Kiefer Ravena wants to leave a winning legacy to Ateneo in his last year as a Blue Eagle.
Last hurrah. Final call. Closing curtain.
Kiefer Ravena after this 78th UAAP season will be hanging his no. 15 jersey.
The King Eagle will take flight for one last time and he wanted to leave an imprint to the new bloods that are still trying to flap their wings for their nest in Katipunan.
It has been two years since the “One Big Fight” chant echoed inside the arena where the sea of blue and white celebrated a conquest. Two seasons and yet it seemed like an eternity for the Blue Eagles.
Ravena together with long time buddy Von Pessumal and Gwyne Capacio are on their fifth and final year of eligibility for Ateneo, who will parade a slew of freshmen itching to prove their worth as the new faces of the Blue Eagles.
And leaving a winning legacy is their mission, especially Ravena, who took last year’s Most Valuable player award but came half a step short of carrying Ateneo to the championship.
“This batch leaving this year will be the last of the championship batch of Ateneo so that’s also one thing that probably people don’t know,” said the 21-year-old guard, who also led the Blue Eaglets to three consecutive titles in the junior division.
“There’s gonna be a real change in the lineup next year that’s why ngayon gusto talaga namin na iparamdam sa kanila kung paano mag-champion and how to take care of that,” the 2011 rookie of the year winner added. “Kung paano papangalagaan 'yung tradition na yun.”
The trio were part of Ateneo’s five-peat dynasty under coach Norman Black from 2008 to 2012.
But with the departure of Black and most of the veterans, Ravena was left to lead the Blue Eagles squad still in transition with new mentor Bo Perasol.
It was a rough road for Ateneo as the Blue Eagles missed a Final Four appearance in 2013 for the first time in more than a decade with Ravena struggling with an injury the whole season.
Last year was supposed to be a season of redemption for Ateneo. The Blue Eagles returned to the semifinals with Pessumal having a steady performance to support Ravena but with a big hole in the middle -- the squad’s strength before with the presence of the likes of Rabeh Al-Hussaini and 6-foot-11 Greg Slaughter -– Ateneo slammed into a solid wall of emerging power National University.
And that height advantage of the Bulldogs shattered the dreams of Ateneo when 6-foot-8 center Alfred Aroga swatted away Ravena’s final shot in a classic Final Four encounter that paved the way for NU end a long-time title drought.
Ravena swore that the Blue Eagles will rise again.
“Meron talagang (personal mission). Gusto ko kasing mag-champion talaga. Siguro nandoon yung conscious effort na maipakita mo talaga sa mga bata na although na there’s a chance na you won’t be a champion this year, I just want to leave something behind for the young ones,” a very serious Ravena said.
Ateneo will parade new comers Hubert Cani, Jerie Pinggoy and juniors standouts Michael and Matthew Nieto.
Ravena is excited to hit the floor with these rookies.
“Very excited a lot of expectations not only for us but for a lot of different people. Hopefully we can have a chance to prove ourselves even with a rookie-laden roster,” he said.
“Hopefully mabigyan namin ng opportunity ang Ateneo na makapag-compete sa championship. Last year we are half a step away but now hopefully we learned our lessons and we’ll be able to do that,” Ravena added.
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