Kiefer Ravena is built for moments that wow.
Through six games of NLEX Road Warriors' fierce semifinal duel with eventual winner Magnolia Hotshots, The Phenom displayed his brand of ahead-of-the-curve oncourt brilliance with such astounding consistency that PBA Rush basketball analyst Ali Peek couldn't help but dub the likely headliner of Gilas 2023 backcourt one of this year's must-see "super rookies."
Sure, you can act like a prick and be a troll about it—they still lost, after all, right? (And to that we recommend you read this—Ed.) But if you're the type who relishes silver-lining the shit out of NLEX's gutsy but, okay, doomed PBA Philippine Cup Finals bid recently, it's highly likely you'll single out clutch Kiefer as reason to stay optimistic about the promising future of the Coach Yeng Guiao-toughened squad.
"There's no doubt he's a special player," Spin.ph Editor in Chief and Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) President Dodo Catacutan says of Kiefer. "He's not the most athletically gifted player and his game is still a work in progress, but I've never seen a player with a higher basketball IQ at his age. That's what sets him apart from the rest."
The great news is, Kiefer's strict adherence to living up to his nick also extends to his devotion to girlfriend and fellow Phenom, volleyball superstar Alyssa Valdez. So what's the Phenom-Phenom love combo like, we asked this month's FHM Hero. Quite competitive, as it turns out.
"With me and Alyssa, it's something na parang yung expectation [ng mga fans] nung pagiging 'Phenom' namin on the volleyball and basketball courts ay ganun din kami as partners," Kiefer says. "[May thinking] na phenomenal din kami sa lovelife namin and walang problem, that we do not fight, that perfect #relationshipgoals kami."
But the cerebral NLEX point guard insists that's not the case between them. Devoting time for each other, for one, has always been a challenge, he says.
"Yang time, that's the usual na pinagmumulan ng arguments kasi may practice ako buong araw, tapos if I'm free, siya naman ang may practice. But as with any relationships, sometimes yung mga arguments and petty fights are the things that strengthen your bond. We know our priorities and how to set things straight. That's why our bond is getting stronger."
The hoops Phenom says that whenever they're together, it's a no-brainer that he spends time baking with Alyssa, who co-owns the endearing unicorn-themed Rainbow Dreams Cafe, a unique dessert joint in Maginhawa, Q.C. This, he attests, is one of his favorite go-to lambing moves.
A volleyball player in gradeschool, Kiefer adds he still crosstrains playing Alyssa and his mom Mozzi's sport every now and then. "Spike and receive lang—although [I'm] not as great as Alyssa is. And she can play basketball. She's an athlete and adapts really well."
And then there's golf. "Therapy namin, we play golf," Kiefer says. "It can get really competitive, especially when you really suck at playing it. [But I must admit] She has a better back swing than I do."