Kief-ing Ateneo-La Salle memories

Mark Escarlote on Nov 07, 2015 10:50 PM
Kief-ing Ateneo-La Salle memories
Ako Iíll just enjoy it, itís probably my last Ateneo-La Salle (game) --- Kiefer Ravena

He stood at center court amidst the roaring crowd.

It was electric. Something he had not yet experienced in his young basketball career.

Every part of his body was filled with excitement.

With him were the core of a squad on a dynastic rule and a 6-foot-11 transferee, who would eventually become a towering presence for the most popular professional team in the country.

Back at the bench, Norman Black nodded when the rookie guard met his eyes.

A few days back the freshman debuted with a dud. No points. All hype.

But this was different.

Pride was at stake. And it was not just him, but for a community.

When he got the ball in his hands, there was no turning back. He has to break the ice. He attacked. The ball found the bottom of net.

Two more field goals followed and he saw the sea of blue already standing on their feet, anticipating his every move.

He finished with 24 points, all but two in the first half, on a 10-of-15 field goal clip including the team's first six.

He grabbed 10 rebounds, five steals and two assists.

It was his first starting role and played for 33 minutes.

Yes, it was electric.

He felt for the first time what it was to be a true Blue Eagle.

He’s now part of the storied Ateneo-De La Salle rivalry.

It was the first of the eight times Kiefer Ravena faced the Green Archers in UAAP men's basketball.

On Sunday, the graduating King Eagle could probably play his last match in the storied rivalry unless luck favors the squad in green, which is desperately fighting for dear life for the last semifinals spot.

“It’s one of the things I’m gonna miss in the UAAP but as coach Bo (Perasol) always reminds us, it’s still a basketball game,” said the reigning Most Valuable Player.

In eight head-to-head matches against La Salle, Ravena won five. He skipped only once -– back in 2013 due to a sprained left foot and the year that Ateneo missed the Final Four for the first time since 1998.

This season, the Blue Eagles are through to semifinals and are looking to take one of the two Final Four twice-to-beat advantage with a four-game winning run and 8-4 win-loss record.

The Green Archers on the other hand, are in a precarious position with a 5-6 mark with three other teams breathing down their necks for the right to advance in the second round.

But like all the past Ateneo-La Salle games, everything is about school pride.

For Ravena he’ll just enjoy the moment of the match – probably his last.

“We can’t play with the crowd. We can’t be overeager and overexcited kailangan lang i-enjoy mo,” added Ravena. “Ako I’ll just enjoy it, it’s probably my last Ateneo-La Salle (game).”

The Blue Eagles dropped its first round game against the Green Archers, 80-76, last October 4 with Ravena throwing bricks in the final minute.

The more Ravena wanted to make the most of probably his last shots against La Salle defenders.

“Whatever happens ibibigay ko lang ang lahat. I’m sure La Salle is La Salle. When they face Ateneo, all stats aside, all standings aside, it’s going to be a grind it out ball game. It’s going to be a war. Everybody’s gonna come out on a Sunday afternoon and watch their school play,” he said. “We’ll give it our best, just give our best.”

And indeed he will before the deafening sound of “One Big Fight” and “Animo” fades into a memory of a beautiful collegiate experience.

---


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