Ravena not giving up on Ateneo's season
MANILA, Philippines – Ateneo guard Kiefer Ravena has not yet lost hope that the five-time defending champions Blue Eagles can still make it to the Final Four of the UAAP Season 76 men’s basketball tournament, even as they no longer control their own destiny.
The Blue Eagles bowed to the National University Bulldogs, 65-70, on Wednesday, putting their record at 7-6. They face a must-win game next Wednesday against the University of Santo Tomas in their final assignment of the elimination round.
“There’s still a chance,” Ravena told reporters after the game, which saw him struggle mightily and score only three points on 1-of-9 shooting from the field. “I mean, hindi pa naman sarado ‘yung opportunity na mag-Final Four kami.”
But Ravena, a former Rookie of the Year, admits that the defending champions face a tough road.
“Ang masama lang is we don’t have it in our hands, we’re not in control,” he said. “If we won this game, hawak pa namin sana ‘yung destiny namin this season.”
“Pero ganoon talaga ‘yun. You have to deal with what we have right now and focus on the next game, the last game of the season,” he added.
The Blue Eagles will therefore be interested spectators when the Growling Tigers take on the De La Salle Green Archers this Saturday in a game that will have major implications on the Final Four.
“We still have to see on Saturday what type of situation we’re going to be in, if it’s a twice-to-beat or a do-or-die,” said Ravena. “Hihintayin na lang namin this Saturday, and hopefully we prepare our best for Wednesday.”
Ravena also offered no excuses for his poor performance against NU, and gave credit to the Bulldogs defenders for their effort.
“The two early fouls got me out of my rhythm early, and the defenders NU threw at me did a good job. The shots just weren’t falling down, and in the end, hindi ko na masyado pinipilit. Tapos nag-foul out pa ako,” he said.
“It’s just one of those days… I was just really focused on winning, doing everything, but probably it didn’t work in my favor,” he added.