Kiefer Ravena's stepback triple is 'icing' on 4th SEA Games gold
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – Kiefer Ravena held the ball twice in that possession. He had been struggling to shoot all game, missing all 3 of his 3-point attempts and was shooting below 25%.
Ravena, ever the competitor, was visibly frustrated as he missed even gimme layups he usually makes. But when he got the ball for the second time in the same possession this time he knew he wanted to make it count.
He assessed his defender and his space, waiting for the right moment. His defender sagged at the arc, while Ravena dribbled at a distance beyond it. The former UAAP MVP then drove to his right, stunning his defender, then stepped back and let fly a 3-pointer with 1:35 remaining, his defender's raised hand coming just a second too late.
With one of his signature stepback threes, Ravena notched the final 94-55 tally of Gilas Pilipinas' blowout victory over Indonesia in the men's basketball final of the 2017 Southeast Asian Games on Saturday, August 26 at the MABA Stadium here.
The Philippines brought home its 18th basketball gold out of 19 participations in the SEA Games.
For Ravena, that 3-pointer was a fitting way to cap off his fourth straight SEA Games basketball gold medal, a new record after he surpassed former PBA player Rommel Adducul.
It was the potential cherry on top of the SEA Games chapter of his national team story – just in case this was his last and he would no longer participate in the 2019 edition to be held in Manila.
"Hindi natin alam kung meron pang susunod kasi e. Wanted to give it kumbaga the icing the pang-apat na gold," the 23-year-old former Ateneo Blue Eagle, who had 7 points, two rebounds, an assist, and a steal in nearly 23 minutes of play, told reporters after the game.
(We don't know what might come next. I wanted to give it kind of the icing on this 4th gold.)
Though this romp to another gold was expected, Ravena still most savors and appreciates this fourth title – especially since he did it with longtime teammates such as Kevin Ferrer and Ray Parks, who both also copped their 3rd golds (Ferrer has 3 straight).
"All the battles since high school and college. We played together for one goal and that’s the goal medal. Special lang kasi lahat ng panalo namin medyo pinaghirapan namin. It just goes to show that all our neighboring countries are getting better and better," he said, referring to challenges put forth by Thailand in the group phase and even Singapore in the semifinals.
(It's special because we worked hard for all of our wins.)
"On a high of course. Sa mga situations na ganito hindi na importante kung maganda ilalaro mo o pangit. Picture naman namin lahat nasa front page. Hindi lang isa. Pinaka importante doon naglaro kami para sa pangalan na nasa harap ng jersey namin."
(In these stituations it's no longer important whether you play well or not. All of our pictures will be on the front page. Not just one player. The most important thing is we all played for the name in front of our jersey.)
Ravena was prepared for the photo-ops. Sensing impending history to be made, he brought with him his 3 other medals since 2011 for the perfect photos of his complete set.
Through 7 years he hopped around Indonesia, Myanmar, Singapore, and now Malaysia to collect those medals, playing in the SEA Games since he was 17 years old.
Ravena is unsure about whether or not he would compete in 2019. But he told Rappler before these Games that he would love to retire from the SEA Games on home soil, and make it 5 straight golds for him.
"We’ll see two years from now," he asserted once more. "Marami pwede mangyari. Baka mabigyan ulit ng chance." (A lot can happen. I might be given another chance.) – Rappler.com