Someone asked me how my blog and newspaper column came to be titled "Bleachers Brew". It's like this, it's an amalgam of sorts of two things: The bleachers area in the stadium/arena where I used to sit when I would watch baseball, football, and basketball games and Miles Davis' great jazz album Bitches Brew. That's how it got culled together. I originally planned on calling it "The View from the Big Chair" that is a nod to Tears For Fear's second album, Songs from the Big Chair. So there.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

The Son Rises. A Chat with Kiefer Ravena.

The Ravena household is like the UAAP. Mom Mozzy is from UST. Their famous father, Bong, was the King Warrior of his time aside from being a former PBA Rookie of the Year with San Miguel Beer. And up until last year, younger brother Thirdy was still in La Salle Greenhills (he has since moved to Loyola Heights). And Kiefer is from the runner-up Blue Eaglets and this young is already drawing raves from every basketball nook, chat room, and cognoscenti.

Kiefer wears #14 for the team. But for his ABL jersey he sports #24. The number fourteen by tradition has always been reserved for any basketball team’s starting center. It’s a fine tradition that began with Caloy Loyzaga when even as a senior in high school, he was leading the college varsity to the NCAA Men’s title. That’s how revered he was. And so for a frosh point guard to wear the number...

As for #24? “Kobe Bryant. Kobe. Yes, I’m a big fan so that makes me a fan of the Lakers. But I like Steve Nash too,” he adds for variety, but he swears by Black Mamba. “If he moves to Chicago then I’ll be a fan of the Bulls.”

Bong Ravena + Kobe Bryant = high-flying, high-scoring, absolutely fearless basketball player.

See the resemblance?

Athletic. Magic with the ball. A money player come money time. And that Afro.

Okay so Kiefer doesn’t sport an Afro. He laughs at the thought and ruffles his spiked hair.

While Kiefer hasn’t had that growth spurt just yet, he is already playing bigger than his height. As a freshman, he played the game of his life against the De La Salle Zobel Junior Archers in the just-concluded Junior’s UAAP basketball tournament. It’s rare that a freshman makes the junior varsity. More so to stay in a close game during crunch time. But there he was taking it to the hole against the taller Archers. And just when his guards thought he’d be driving to the hoop, he would stick a trey right in their faces. It was an incandescent performance despite a losing cause. Yet it was eerily reminiscent of LA Tenorio in the 2001’s seniors’ finals where he pumped in 33 huge points to forever cement his name in UAAP lore.

The league may have conferred the rookie of the Year Award to a player from UE, but the UAAP Press Corp restored a measure of justice by handing it to Ravena.

Dad Bong is proud of his son’s accomplishments. But the son is even prouder. He knows an obscure stat: “Dad scored 27 in his first game in the UAAP (and that was against Ateneo).”

“And napanood ko na siya sa Talk n Text.”

It’s a Friday and the high school has been let out early. Practice is at 4pm and before that pro team Coca Cola then PBL team Pharex are scheduled one after another for their own team practices. Ravena steals some time to shoot on one of the unused courts. There are two things he distinctly remembers – the SBP loss to Ateneo when he was playing for La Salle Greenhills in Grade 5 (Ravena missed a potential game winner against an Ateneo team that was bannered by Chucky Dumrique, Jayvee’s younger brother).

It was to be his last game for LSGH as he transferred to Ateneo the following year after being recruited by none other than the blue and white’s chief patron Manny Pangilinan. Even then there were rumors floated about by parents of his former schoolmates that he deliberately missed the shot (that would have given the Greenies an SBP three-peat) since he was transferring to Ateneo. “That wasn’t true,” he asserts.

At first he worried the transition would be difficult, but some of his new schoolmates were familiar to him since they played together in various tournaments.

Now he walks the campus like he’s been here in all his life. Clearly enjoying his new school, he’s aware of the tradition and the possibilities. “Malaking inspiration sa akin na yung mga players ng Ateneo nakakuha ng magandang education. Nakikita ko naman na hindi lahat ng player kahit yung ibang magagaling at umaabot sa PBA. Yung iba nandoon pero hindi tumatagal. Saan na sila pagkatapos noon?”

“So big deal yung studies sa akin at sa parents ko. And sana makalaro para sa Blue Eagles.”

1 comment:

  1. Hi Sir Rick! This is an interesting read especially now that he's finally playing for the Blue Eagles. :)