Messages from 'Manong' Kiefer inspire NU's Alejandro
The two-time UAAP MVP was credited by fifth-year swing J-Jay Alejandro as the inspiration for his classic 17-point, six-rebound, nine-assist performance in a 87-84 victory against the FEU Tamaraws Wednesday.
With team captain Matt Salem still unable to contribute as he recovers from dengue, there was one guy the NU Bulldogs counted on for a great performance in order to give them a chance to keep their Final Four hopes alive.
Yes, you read that right. The two-time UAAP MVP was credited by fifth-year guard J-Jay Alejandro as the inspiration for his classic 17-point, six-rebound, nine-assist performance in a 87-84 victory against the FEU Tamaraws on Wednesday.
“Well kung 'di nyo alam, every game kasi, 'di ba si Kiefer, manong Kiefer played for coach Jamike. So every game na hindi ako nakaka-double figures or mababa sa 20 points yung score, lagi akong nakaka-receive ng text kay Kiefer,” Alejandro said after the game.
“Nagtatanong ako sa kanya kung ano bang dapat gawin sa certain situations tapos I think yung decision-making lang sa fourth quarter kasi yung teammates ko.”
Alejandro said that Ravena, whom he idolized, started texting him after the Bulldogs lost a heartbreaker against the lowly UE Red Warriors, 77-90.
Initially, Alejandro was shocked and excited to see a text from his inspiration, whom he fondly called “manong.”
“Hindi lang siya nagbibigay ng advice. I think na, siguro coming from him na naglaro kay coach Jamike, so gusto niya tumulong talaga.”
If the Bulldogs lost against the Tamaraws, they would have been eliminated from playoff contention. Their season looked over as the Tamaraws were trampling NU in the payoff period, leading by as much as 15, 79-64, with over eight minutes to go. They drilled 17 treys by that point, a UAAP record.
However, Alejandro thought otherwise.
The NU star scored 11 from there and spearheaded much of the NU’s spirited comeback, passing to big men inside, taking advantage of the early Tamaraw woes in terms of fouls.
The 22-year old's performance even impressed his coach, Jamike Jarin, who guided Ravena in his high school days as an Ateneo Blue Eaglet.
“When J-Jay Alejandro asks for the ball nung fourth quarter… during the halftime, I told J-Jay Alejandro, ‘Jay, you need to score in order for us to have a chance,'” Jarin said.
“So we just kept on coming back and coming back against FEU. People were scoring but when the fourth quarter started, J-Jay Alejandro demanded for the ball. So we gave him the ball, he made the right decisions, and we executed very well. So I just have to give all my hats off to Mr. J-Jay Alejandro but of course, it was a total team effort from everybody.”