STA. ROSA, Philippines – Kiefer Ravena may have engaged in a fierce showdown with Ray Parks, but the NLEX standout said getting a win is the "most important thing."
Both former collegiate stars in the UAAP where they captured two MVP awards apiece, the two multi-faceted guards battled for the first time in the pro league and did not disappoint.
Ravena had an impressive performance across the board with 25 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists, and 1 steal, while Parks was just as stellar with 28 points, 6 assists, 4 rebounds, and 2 steals in the PBA Governors' Cup on Sunday, September 29.
But it was Ravena who got the last laugh as NLEX pulled off a 115-109 win to remain undefeated in 3 games and keep Parks and Blackwater winless in two outings.
"I guess it's a long time coming. It's been a while since we faced each other," Ravena told reporters here in Laguna.
"More than anything else, you can throw all the stats away. I'm sure he'll agree with it. The most important thing is carrying out the victory."
It was payback for the Road Warriors, who last conference, absorbed a sound 106-132 beating from Blackwater in the Commissioner's Cup in June – a time when Ravena was still sidelined due to his suspension from FIBA.
In that match, Parks set a then career-high 29 points to go with 5 assists, 4 rebounds, and 2 steals.
"He beat us when I wasn't playing and we're now even because we beat them. As long as both of us are good competitors – great competitors – we wouldn't care less about our stats as long as we win," Ravena added.
Ravena, though, said he is far from contented despite their 3-0 start as NLEX tests its mettle when it meets perennial contenders San Miguel and Barangay Ginebra in back-to-back games in Dubai next week.
"There's still a lot of room for improvement because it's still early," Ravena said. "Hopefully, we just continue to build trust with one another and carry it on in our succeeding games."
NLEX will fly to Dubai on Wednesday, October 2, before facing San Miguel on Friday and Barangay Ginebra on Saturday at the Coca-Cola Arena. – Rappler.com
Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.