Perasol blames fatigue for Ravena’s struggle vs UST

MANILA, Philippines – Kiefer Ravena lined up a three-pointer inside the final two minutes in an attempt to bail the Ateneo Blue Eagles out from their monumental collapse Saturday, September 26.

He had no lift, his form was off, and the confidence simply was not there as he backironed his shot.

It was that kind of night for the reigning UAAP MVP known for his clutch heroics, and head coach Bo Perasol believes fatigue caught up with Ravena with no time to rest since late in the third quarter when UST sparked their rally.

“I think it was more of fatigue factor. He got tired towards the end,” Perasol said following his team’s 68-58 loss to the UST Growling Tigers in the UAAP Season 78 men’s basketball tournament. “I wasn’t able to substitute him for the fourth quarter. I was hoping we could get a good run, at least maybe two minutes to rest him. But the (UST) run went on.” 

Ateneo badly needed Ravena during UST’s fourth quarter storm but he could not buy a basket – nor could his teammates when Ravena kicked out or passed the ball around. Ravena made just 4 of his 18 field goal attempts and only one of the 8 three-pointers he heaved to finish with 13 points to go with 9 rebounds, 6 assists and a steal. 

Ravena was quick to blame himself, tweeting moments after the defeat: “On me.”

On me. — Kiefer Ravena (@kieferravena) September 26, 2015

Perasol admitted there is a “need to do a better job of pacing our players” as Ravena clocked in over 35 minutes on the floor. Von Pessumal played for 33 minutes and had a team-high 19 points. 

We'll be better! #OBF — Von Pessumal (@von19) September 26, 2015

The rest of the starters Matt Nieto, Gideon Babilonia and Gwayne Capacio played 27, 23 and 10 minutes respectively. 

“I was hoping I could give Kiefer and Von some good time resting because I know they’re (UST) going to have another run and it went on early,” rued Perasol. 

“We also have to do a better job of executing our plays,” he added. “Any team who’s going to shoot only 6 points in a quarter and allow 26 points really has a problem, especially in the fourth quarter.”

The Eagles were outscored 32-6 in the last 12 minutes of the game bridging the third and fourth quarters with veteran swingman Kevin Ferrer leading the charge for the Tigers. (READ: Flu can't stop Ferrer from torching Ateneo

Ferrer, who was teammates with Ravena in the Sinag Pilipinas national team, battled through flu-like symptoms and set a career-high 27 points converting 6 of his 10 triples in close to 36 minutes of action. 

“We may need to adjust but at the end of the day even if he (Ravena) wasn’t shooting well, he made the crucial shots in the end in our past 3 games,” Perasol said of Ravena in a mix of Filipino and English. “He also works hard on defense. That’s really expected from him. He knows his responsibility, he knows the composition of our team.” 

Though benching their star player for a good stretch to get him recovered in games is something Ateneo needs to do, it’s also something quite risky – maybe even costly – for the young team.

“Even if I would want or he would want to rest, he knows with him not inside it’s going to really cost us a little bit. If we can hold the fort without him inside, that would be tremendous for us. That is a challenge for us,” Perasol bared, noting he is constantly urging the rest of his bench to step up to lessen the load on Ravena. 

“Whoever it is that’s going to step up, like last game when Von stepped up. I think I need to see other players step up like Capacio,” he said. “Probably our point guards also can help on scoring. But we know the composition of our team.” 

Ateneo, which arrested its 3-game winning streak and slid to a 3-2 record after the loss, will look to bounce back versus UP on Wednesday, September 30.

“I think we just have to take it in stride,” Perasol said. “We’re still 3-2, we started off with a very bad loss but we fought out UST which is a very strong team. I think we will be better next game.” –