By MAV C. GONZALES| http://www.gmanews.tv
There is no more doubt that Kiefer Ravena will play for Ateneo.
Despite Kiefer announcing his decision a couple of months ago, some people were still left unconvinced until he donned the blue-and-white in competition.
Well those reservations were answered when Kiefer played as a legitimate Blue Eagle in the Fil-Oil Pre-Season Tournament last weekend. And he did not just play. He basically carried the team to its first win against defending NCAA champions San Beda Red Lions. With 25 points composed mostly of crucial baskets (who could forget the alley hoop to Greg Slaughter?), it’s safe to say Kiefer has broken into collegiate basketball.
The high school phenom
While other high school students were just hoping to pass college entrance tests, Kiefer was busy deciding which offer he would take.
Kiefer is the first freshman to make it straight to the Ateneo Blue Eaglet’s UAAP lineup. He led the team to three UAAP Juniors championships during his high school career. Aptly named Season 73’s Most Valuable Player, he averaged 20 points and 5.2 assists per game in his last year.
High school basketball phenomena happen rarely so when they do, talks on their college choice never end. Kiefer received offers from several schools. He even considered playing college basketball in the United States, but received no concrete offer from a Division I school because of his age.
Only 17-years-old, Kiefer is too young to go straight to college in the US. He would probably be sent back to fourth year high school if he was to play there.
“Mabubugbog ako masyado don. Sa States, students graduate from high school at 18 or 19. Eh yung mga kalaban mo dun athletic na, malalaki pa,” he says.
Then again, Kiefer doesn’t consider height a hindrance to playing abroad. Besides, he plays as a guard.
“If you work hard and you do your best lang, kahit gaano ka kaliit, maugustuhan ka naman ng coach,” he adds.
During the long – and for Ateneans, painful – wait on Kiefer’s official announcement, there have been mixed responses. Many blue die-hards kept their fingers crossed, hoping the six years Kiefer spent in Ateneo was enough to keep him loyal. After all, putting him in the Blue Eagles’ lineup would be the last nail towards a four-peat.
Yet there were others who felt like the whole thing’s been blown out of proportion. Sure he’s an exceptional basketball player, but the choice he is making is just that – a choice on which school he would study in and play for.
Why did he take months to pick a university anyway?
“Hindi naman sa nagpapa-presyo ako o nagpapatagal, pero it’s a life-changing decision. I really needed time to think about it personally. I hope I made some of them [critics] happy, since I went to Ateneo pa rin naman,” he explains.
Rumors also circulated that Kiefer would hold a press conference just to announce his decision.
“Impossible naman ata na magpapa-presscon para lang sa’kin. The focus isn’t just on me. There are a lot of other high school players. I announced my decision nga through Facebook lang, status pa,” he adds.
Contrary to what many people think, Kiefer didn’t receive anything special from Ateneo. He says that he gets what the other players get. The biggest factor on his choice to stay is loyalty. That simple. In fact, as early as last June, he was already pretty much set on going to Ateneo.
“I applied only to Ateneo. I didn’t take tests other than the ACET,” he says. “It’s everyone’s high school dream to play for Ateneo in college. Aside from the winning tradition, it’s the quality education that’s important. Okay din yung campus and teammates ko.”
Kiefer may have been the golden boy in high school, with extremely passionate fans who ask him to autograph their bodies. However, he’s ready to leave that part of his life behind and go to college.
“Sawa na ko sa mukha ng mga classmates ko kasi block section kami since second year,” he kids. “I’m going to miss my classmates, but I’m really excited to go to college. It’s like freedom. Palipat-lipat ka na ng classroom, tapos may freecuts. Exciting.”
Just like any other boy, he’s also thrilled to finally have female classmates, although that means less jokes and pranks. Speaking of girls, Kiefer keeps mum on whether there would be anyone special cheering him on as he dons the Blue and White next UAAP season.
“My parents! They’re the special-est,” he laughs. “Well I do hope someone would cheer for me. We’ll see.”
Still open to playing in the US
Although Kiefer is already set on playing for the Blue Eagles, he’s not closing the doors on playing abroad given that the offer comes from a reputable school.
“If it’s a top school in the US, siguro sila Coach Norman would allow me to go there. It’s also a chance to represent the school and the country. I can say that Ateneo molded me and trained me, and it’s gonna be good for them too,” he says. “Pero di ko muna iniisip yun kasi may UAAP pa.”
The Ateneo Blue Eagles are currently enjoying three consecutive crowns in the UAAP. With the team’s core intact and additional players coming in, a four-peat may not be too far off.
“Hindi lang ako makakasagot kung makaka-four-peat, kundi yung mga seniors. I’m just a rookie. The seniors have earned their minutes. They’ve earned their respect already. And that’s what I’ll be trying to earn – one practice, one day at a time,” he ends.
With the game he played in the Fil-Oil, he’s earned my respect already. — OMG, GMA News
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