Posted Oct 18th 2014
Kiefer Ravena bags first ever UAAP MVP plum
By Paolo Mariano Posted Sep 17th 2014
Kiefer Ravena’s confidence was at an all-time high prior to the opening of last season. He said he was in the best shape of his life. He was ready to take the pressure-packed cudgels for Ateneo de Manila University and stake his claim in the cutthroat UAAP.
Misfortune, however, struck.
He sprained his right ankle in an off-court accident. He played only eight minutes in their first game against National University (NU) and then sat out their next four outings. When he returned, he clearly lacked the explosiveness that has made him one of college basketball’s most lethal weapons.
With Ravena bothered by the injury, the Blue Eagles stumbled in the standings. They finished Season 76 with a 7-7 record and missed the Final Four for the first time since 1998. More painfully, they saw their five-year title reign come to an end.
The six-foot Ravena averaged a career-low 12.7 PPG. The losses stung. He has always been a winner.
He vowed to bounce back.
So that’s exactly what he did.
Back with a vengeance
Not only did he keep his promise, he did it in dominating fashion.
“The Phenom” bagged his first ever UAAP Most Valuable Player (MVP) award after accumulating 77.64 statistical points (SPs)—the league’s sole basis for the highest individual honor—at the end of the elimination round. He averaged league-highs of 21.2 PPG and 5.6 APG on top of 5.9 RPG and 1.5 SPG in an exquisite all-around campaign.
According to UAAP chief statistician Pong Ducanes of Imperium Technology, Ravena’s 77.64 SPs is the highest by any player since the league adopted the method in 2003. He never relinquished the top spot after leading the race at the end of the first round.
Finishing second in the MVP ladder is reigning Finals MVP Jeron Teng with 68.21 SPs. The De La Salle University main man also put up career numbers across the board with 18.1 PPG, 7.1 RPG, and 4.0 APG.
Ending up third and fourth are Far Eastern University’s (FEU) Mac Belo and Ravena’s running mate Chris Newsome with 61.28 and 60.64 SPs, respectively. Rounding out the top five is University of Santo Tomas’ (UST) Karim Abdul with 57.61 SPs.
Also making it to the top 10 are NU’s Alfred Aroga (53.85), FEU’s Mike Tolomia (53.78), NU’s Troy Rosario (52.78), La Salle’s Jason Perkins (52.28), and Adamson University’s Don Trollano (50.69).
A season to remember
With Ravena spearheading the charge all season, the Blue Eagles earned the top spot in the Final Four with an 11-3 record. They, however, had to go through the proverbial hole in the needle in the battle for number one as they charged back from a seemingly insurmountable 19-point deficit in the fourth quarter to escape FEU in overtime last Saturday.
The two-time UAAP Juniors Finals MVP scored 15 of his game-high 23 points in the final period and OT, including a string of clutch free throws in regulation.
It truly has been a season to remember for Ravena, who made several game-winner and recorded the highest single game scoring output by any player in more than a decade after exploding for 38 points versus University of the East (UE) in the first round.
But it hasn’t been all rainbows and butterflies for the fourth-year guard. The criticisms continue about his knack for flopping and being an alleged favorite of the referees. La Salle head coach Juno Sauler even broke out of his usual standoffish shell and implied that Ravena easily “sells calls.”
The King Eagle, however, has said that it’s all part of the game and he’s making a conscious effort to avoid flopping in order to silence the bashers.
Well, his MVP trophy is one heck of a lip-zipper.
Ravena becomes the fifth player in Ateneo history to bag the UAAP MVP plum after two-time winners Jun Reyes and Rich Alvarez, Enrico Villanueva, and Rabeh Al-Hussaini.
Completely recovered from his ankle injury and with a confidence skyrocketing to even greater heights, Ravena has now set his sights on bringing the UAAP crown back to Loyola Heights.