Last October 24, Wednesday, we found ourselves at the just-opened Robinson’s Magnolia in New Manila where a web-to-print photo-processing service called FotoSnaps was being launched, of which Kiefer Ravena is an endorser.
We interviewed, but first a little something about the company. FotoSnaps is kind of like what film-printing photo shops—a breed of business mostly on the way to extinction—have evolved as. Fotosnaps doesn’t just print photos though. They allow users to create customized hardbound photo books, photo calendars, photo cards and other novelty items using their proprietary software—items which the company will then produce and deliver to the consumer. Some would use it to catalogue their travels or family reunions; we’ll probably use it to print autograph signing photos with FHM cover girls, which we’ll then display proudly on a coffee table we plan to buy real soon.
Or if you’re a really talented basketball player like Kiefer Ravena, you could use the service to catalogue your exploits on the court, which you’ll then sell to screaming fan girls.
The Ateneo player known as “The Phenom” was on hand at the event as one of the company’s endorsers together with comedienne Giselle Sanchez, and radio DJ Cerah Hernandez. With the spitfire guard having just won his second UAAP championship in as many years, we of course couldn’t pass up this chance to get his thoughts on the season that was, the seasons that will be, and his training time with Celtic point guard Rajon Rondo. Read our interview with him, below.
How was the bonfire?
Sobrang gulo. Ibang klase. That was the biggest bonfire crowd I’d ever seen, I think. Grabe talaga. When I stepped out onto the stage, ang nasabi ko na lang, “grabe ang pasasalamat ko sa mga tao na ‘to.” Every game nandun sila, nanonood.
How did this UAAP season feel any different from the last?
Everyone was really expecting us to swoosh by the season. But it was hard. Ine-expect nila na dadaanan lang namin, but that wasn’t the case. Early into the season, we even lost.
The pressure is intense trying to win the fifth title. You have a very, very big target on your back. Everyone wants to shoot you down. Every one of those seven opposing teams wants you to lose. And lahat ng fans nung mga teams na ‘yun gusto ka talagang matalo. Pero nakatulong din to maintain our hunger to win. Definitely, we didn’t back down, and gave ourselves a chance to win
What were Coach Norman’s words about dealing with that sort of pressure?
Ang sabi lang niya, the pressure is spread across 16 players, and the burden isn’t just carried by me, by Greg [Slaughter], by Nico [Salva], or by him alone. It’s spread across the coaching staff, to all the players, the managers. I think what most people don’t know is that we really talk amongst ourselves to help each other out, to help each other thrive under pressure.
Coming into next season, a lot of vets and Coach Norman himself will be departing. What are your expectations for next year?
It’s going to be hard for sure. Eighty percent of our offense sa ilalim, nawala, with Nico, Greg, Justin Chua, and Oping [Sumalinog] gone. We’ll have to make up for that, probably with speed, shooting, and athleticism. At the same time, we’ll continue to play hard every game. Pero ngayon hindi pa namin iniisip, medyo matagal-tagal pa ‘yun. We’ll have to enjoy first. We’re very thankful for the services of the five players who are leaving.
Coach Norman and MVP will be gone also. It’s sad but it’s another chapter in their lives. MVP has been there throughout the years. He hasn’t scored any baskets for us, but he’s the main reason for our championship run. If not for him, we wouldn’t be as conditioned as we are during the season. He was a vital cog in our championship run.
Would you say you were a lot more comfortable this season compared to your rookie run?
Ever since I started I was already comfortable because my teammates really helped me. If not for them, I might have taken a lot of time trying to adjust to the college game. Pero they gave me tips that helped me adjust.
And next season, what can we expect from you?
Siguro, kailangan ko pang mas maging conditioned. Playing time would be an issue if I can’t play long stretches, since I’ll be one of the vets by next year. At wala kaming masyadong malalaki next year, so we have to run, run, run. Everyone has to be well-conditioned. If we can run a team out of the gym, at yun ang paraan para manalo kami, yun ang gagawin namin. Of course, ‘di mawawala ‘yung depensa, kasi yun yung passport talaga namin. Kahit hindi kami maka-score as long as hindi maka-score yung kalaban namin, yun yung pinaka-importante for us.
Are you ready to step into an even bigger role?
I’ll be there with my coaches and my teammates. I’ll be ready.
You got to train with Rondo. How was it?
Masaya! Ha ha! Experience of a lifetime. Who knows, he might never come back here anymore. I consider him one of my idols. Lagi siyang triple-double threat eh, so every game I also try to contribute across the board.
Who’s your favorite all-time basketball player?
Kobe ako eh. I’m a Kobe fanatic.
You’ve had your own Kobe-like moments. For one you dunked on UST's center, Karim Abdul. Was the posterization on purpose?
No. What happened was I was really just going to dunk it. Ang layo ko na eh, and then all of a sudden, parang the light was gone. Something had blocked the light. Nagulat na lang ako kasi hindi ko alam na na-shoot eh. Akala ko wala. Akala ko na-block niya. Tapos pag tingin ko sa taas, nakita ko sumisigaw na yung mga tao, so na-shoot pala. Eh di yun, sumigaw na rin ako.
Predictions on a sixth championship?
Kung kakayanin, why not? Sana...sana.
FILE PHOTO BY VER MARQUEZ