by Ging Flores
Sikat na sikat si Kiefer Ravena (UAAP Season 77 MVP and team captain of the Ateneo Blue Eagles) nitong huling UAAP Season dahil sa angking galing niya sa basketball court. Bilang anak ni Coach Bong Ravena — 1992 PBA Rookie of the Year and Assistant Coach of Talk n’ Text — we can see that the apple really does not fall far from the tree.
Kiefer Ravena and Coach Bong Ravena at their home.
Working together on a gameplan with Kiefer and his dad is Kiefer’s mom, Mozzy Crisologo-Ravena, and his siblings Thirdy and Dani. Mozzy, a volleyball analyst, is a former UST Golden Tigress volleyball star. Thirdy is Kiefer’s teammate in the Blue Eagles, and Dani is a volleyball star currently playing for the Miriam College Knollers. Teamwork is what keeps their family together, and helps them succeed.
There is always pressure when playing sports, but Kiefer has learned how to go through this with grace and determination. “Bata pa lang ako, I was playing with pressure already. So I grew up getting used to it, liking it, and challenging myself how I can overcome this pressure, in order to be the best basketball player that I can possibly be.”
He stresses, malaking tulong ang mga magulang niya. “Kasi both are athletes, so they both know how to handle pressure very well. Kaya medyo naiwasan ko na yung mahihirap na parts of handling pressure dahil sa kanilang dalawa.”
Coach Bong shares how he and Mozzy help their children handle pressure. “Pag hindi maganda ang laro nila, hindi namin sila kinukulit o ni-na-nag. Tahimik lang kami. We let them be. Sila naman, on their own, nagre-reflect. Ina-analyze nila yung game nila. Sina Kiefer at Thirdy, pag pangit ang laro nila, tahimik lang sa kotse pauwi. Minsan, didiretso sa court ng village, nagpa-practice shooting, naglalabas ng frustration. Pag feeling naming ready na sila, tsaka namin sila kinakausap. Sinasabi namin yung mga mali nilang ginawa. Honest kami sa kanila. Bawal ang pikon sa bahay. Sino pa ba ang magsasabi sa kanila ng mga palpak nila kundi kami rin? Para alam nila kung saan mag-iimprove.”
Making decisions — like which university to go to – is easy for Kiefer because he is open to his parents about these things. They help him weigh the pros and cons, and help him decide. “They tell me what is best for my career and what not to do. Kaya advantage talaga na athletes din ang parents ko.”
On staying humble
When asked about his status as an instant celebrity at kung lumaki na ba ang ulo niya, Kiefer says with a laugh, “Bawal po dito [sa bahay], bawal ang malaki ang ulo, pinaliliit agad.”
Pare-pareho kasi ang pagtrato ng mga magulang ni Kiefer sa kanilang magkakapatid. Hindi uso ang favoritism sa pamilya. Ang rule lang ni Coach Bong, “May reward ka, kapag may na-achieve ka.”
Kung hindi naman nag-sa-succeed ang isa kagaya ng ibang mga kapatid niya, Coach Bong explains na dapat mas bigyan pa ng support ang bata. Aside from encouragement, you can push the child to try harder. “Sinasabi ko lagi sa kanila, ang importante, passionate ka sa ginagawa mo, dahil pag passionate ka, there’s no reason na hindi ka magsa-succeed.”
Find your love and stick to it
“My parents really wanted us to find our love.” Sabi ni Kiefer, hindi naman sila dinidiktahan ng mga magulang nila sa mga gagawin nila. “Hindi kami kinukulong sa isang bagay na hindi naman namin gusto. That’s why it’s easy to play, iyong hindi ka pilit, you love what you’re doing.” He also adds that now that he’s playing with his brother, it’s 10 times more the fun.
Coach Bong’s sporty family: Kiefer, Thirdy, Mommy Mozzy, and Dani.
Coach Bong states that one has to have passion for the sport. “As a coach, ang hirap magturo sa bata nang wala sa puso niya. Kailangan love mo muna, bago kita turuan,” he says with a smile. Coach Bong observed this in Kiefer even before he entered high school. His focus and mindset, even at that age, were impressive. Even through moments of defeat, Kiefer has managed to accept it gracefully and move on.
Kiefer is surely blessed to be one of the best collegiate basketball players in the Philippines today. His dedication and love for the sport has fueled him to achieve more than what has been expected of him.
Pero tulad ng sinabi niya, hindi niya mararating ito kung hindi dahil sa kanyang pamilya at mga magulang. With his family’s teamwork backing him up, there will definitely be more opportunities for his basketball career to soar to greater heights.
BONUS: Learn more about Coach Bong’s parenting style. Watch this video!