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Stats Don’t Lie: Breaking down Kiefer Ravena’s MVP season

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The Phenom.

If there was one player who captured the hearts and imaginations of UAAP fans, it was Kiefer Ravena of the Ateneo Blue Eagles.

After suffering an early ankle sprain before the start of Season 76, Ravena never found his bearing, as he struggled to lead a young Ateneo squad to the Final Four.  Ravena eventually missed 2 games while coming off the bench in 3 others, as he eventually finished with averages of just 12.7ppg, 4.7 rpg, 2.5 apg on 36.3% and 2.8 tpg.

Fast forward one year later and Ravena took his superstardom to an entirely different atmosphere. Just check out this stat line: 21.2 ppg, 5.9rpg, 5.6 apg, 1.5 spg, on 34.2% field goal shooting.

Without a doubt, it was one of the most impressive MVP-runs in recent memory. The fact that he did it while leading an undermanned and undersized team to the no.1 seed in the Final Four, while also hitting game-winners left and right, just added to the legend.

Of course, while there are those who worship Kiefer and will support him no matter what, there are detractors and critics who describe him as a ball-hog and a one-man show for the Hail Mary squad.

In order to get a clearer perspective of his season, a breakdown of his play and stat line are necessary.

How does he rank compared to recent MVP winners?

First, we will start with a short comparison to the last two MVPs – Terrence Romeo and Ray Parks Jr. – who also put up impressive numbers during their tenures at FEU and NU, respectively.

Below is a table comparing their per-30 minute stat lines (to account for different minutes played):

MINUSG%EFG%PPGRPGAPGSPGTPG
Ravena35.032.3%38.2%18.25.14.81.32.3
Romeo31.137.1%43.9%21.16.13.81.53.1
Parks33.731.9%44.5%19.06.43.91.33.5

*stats only cover elimination round games

Two of the reasons why Kiefer was able to produce this year was because
a.) he played the most minutes per game in the league by far, averaging 35 minutes per game translating
b.) a high usage rate of Ateneo’s offensive possessions.

This isn’t surprising. After all, why wouldn’t you want to play your best player as many minutes as possible and put the ball in his hands to make plays? That’s exactly what we saw in both Terrence’s and Ray’s MVP seasons as well.

On a per-30 minute basis though, it seems that Kiefer wasn’t as efficient scoring the basketball. He shot an effective field goal percentage of just 38.2%, at least five full percentage points below that of Parks and Romeo. He also scored just 18.2 points per game on a per-30 min basis, below both of his comrades.

The one thing he did do better though was being a play-maker. He averaged one full assist more than Romeo and Parks, while also turning the ball over just 2.3 times per-30. Considering that he was the lifeline of the Ateneo offense, that turnover rate is out-of-this-world.

Being aggressive – attacking the basket

Kiefer-Shot-Temp 2Despite shooting just 34.5% from the field, Ravena was still able to average 21 points per game due to his aggressive game that resulted in trips to the free throw line. Including drives where he passed the ball, Kiefer averaged roughly 10.7 finished drive plays per game.

If you break this down to just drives where he attacked the basket, Ravena averaged 7.3 attacking drives. While his finishing rate on drives was just 32.9%, he did draw fouls on 27.5% of his drives. The only other player who can boast a high foul drawn on drives is his rival from DLSU, Jeron Teng.

This helped Ravena get some freebies at the line, along with allowing to both rest and gather his shooting rhythm. These are the small details that separated Kiefer from other “stars”.

Ball screens

As I pointed out in our Ravena-Teng post, another major component of Kiefer’s game is his use of the on-ball screen (pick & roll).

Over the course of the season, Ravena shot just 10/42 on finished pick & roll plays for a FG% of just 23.8%. This shouldn’t be too surprising – defenses were geared towards forcing Ravena to pass or take a tough shot and all he saw were tons of hard shows and traps all season long.

Isolation play
kiefer-iso--shot-chart
I bet if you asked a casual UAAP fan whom he or she thinks is the best one-on-one player in the league, he or she would answer THE PHENOM without blinking.

For the most part, this would be true. But basketball is a team sport and defenses, the best ones at least, move in tandem and are a team affair. At the end of the season, Kiefer ended up finishing 15/65 on isolation 1-on-1 plays. Most of these resulted in off the dribble pull-up jumpers. What hurts most here was that he drew fouls at a rate of just 5.4% on these types of possessions.

This isn’t to say that Kiefer shouldn’t have gone 1-on-1 – he is obviously very talented. Over the course of the season though, his teammates became more and more reliant on him to create, sometimes causing them to stand and watch. With his teammates being stagnant, Ravena had no more choice but to go 1-on-1 at the end of the shot clock and force a tough contested jumper.

Looking ahead to Ravena’s finale

Now that he announced that he would be coming back next season (via Twitter, no less), there’s no doubt that Kiefer will bounce back even stronger. Coaches rave about his work ethic and desire to get better. The question is: how much higher can the King Eagle soar? Looking at his numbers, there’s still a lot of unfinished business for Ravena. On a personal level, I’m sure he will set goals to improve his finishing on pick & roll and isolation sets. On the team level, you can bet that Kiefer won’t settle for anything less than another Finals appearance.

See you next year Mr. MVP.

 

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2 Comments
  • Ateneo supporter

    “Over the course of the season though, his teammates became more and more reliant on him to create, sometimes causing them to stand and watch. With his teammates being stagnant, Ravena had no more choice but to go 1-on-1 at the end of the shot clock and force a tough contested jumper.”

    Check the pictures

  • Ateneo supporter

    this one as well

ABL

Joshua Munzon, Westsports snap Saigon’s streak in highly emotional contest

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Photo by ASEAN Basketball League

Entering Wednesday night’s game, Mikey Williams and the Saigon Heat were on a high, slaying the winning streaks of Hong Kong Eastern and Nanhai Kung Fu. However, Joshua Munzon and the Westsports Malaysia Dragons had other things in mind, keeping the Heat winless at the MABA Stadium, 91-87.

In his fourth game since returning to the Dragons, Munzon filled up the stat sheet, tallying 18 points, 10 rebounds, six assists, two steals, and two blocks.

Besides putting up the numbers, the athletic swingman from California helped limit reigning Heritage Player of the Week Williams to his worst game so far in the ABL. Averaging 27.33 points, 6.67 assists, and 6.0 rebounds prior to this game, Williams went field goal-less against the Dragons, missing all 11 of his attempts. The Filipino-American floor general was able to dish out eight assists and grab five caroms.

Westsports led by as much as 11 points in the final frame, 82-71, after Munzon found Marcus Marshall for a triple with 4:59 remaining. Behind World Imports Akeem Scott and Maxie Esho, the Heat stormed right back but was answered by a long bomb by Munzon to keep them at bay.

Marshall and Scott figured in a shootout to close out the game but in the end, the hosts were still able to etch out their second straight victory.

Marshall finished the game with 25 points, nine assists and six rebounds for the Dragons while Scott’s 44-point game went for naught.

After the emotionally charged contest though, few unkind words were exchanged by the officials of both squads that almost resulted into a brawl. Fortunately, things did not escalate beyond that.

In the video, Munzon was also seen shoving a Saigon player to try and pacify the situation. The league is currently investigating the post-game incident.

With the win, Westsports Malaysia raised its record to 3-4 while dropping Saigon to 4-3.

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Mixed Martial Arts

Edward Kelly honored to fight alongside brother Eric

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Eric and Edward Kelly lived under the same roof for years in their hometown of Baguio City when they were young and shared the same burning passion in martial arts.

Growing up in the small town community of San Tomas Central, located within the city limits of Baguio, Eric and Edward did not always get along with one another as the two fought all the time, sometimes even resulting in injury.

“We were not that close before. We always fought. In short, Eric and I were headaches to our parents,” Edward recalled in jest.

“But of course, things change when you grow up and mature. We now appreciate each other’s company.”

Fortunately, when the brothers entered high school, Eric discovered martial arts, and everything would change for both of them.

Edward paid attention to the growing accolades of his older brother and was heavily motivated by it.

“I noticed after he started martial arts that it taught him the discipline not to fight me as a brother. Instead, he started giving me advice through what he had learned,” he bared. “I also joined martial arts because it teaches you discipline, and a lot of other positives, too.”

Years later, both men have made remarkable runs as outstanding martial artists in their respective professional careers.

Eric is widely regarded as one of the best homegrown martial arts athletes to come out of the Philippines.

A Wushu practitioner who combines solid striking techniques with high-level grappling skills, Eric owns nine scintillating submissions and one knockout out of 12 total career victories.

Eric’s most impressive showing to date came in a submission win over Rob Lisita in July 2014, a performance that earned him the USD 50,000 ONE Warrior Bonus.

Meanwhile, Edward is considered as one of the best and brightest featherweight prospects to emerge from the well-established martial arts scene in the Philippines.

With a complete striking and grappling skill set, Edward brings Team Lakay’s world-renowned Wushu to center stage as he showcases his impeccable skillset inside the ONE Championship cage.

In addition, the younger Kelly has won three of his last four bouts under the ONE Championship banner, all by spectacular finish.

The Kelly brothers get a rare chance on Friday, January 26 as the siblings will compete side-by-side when ONE Championship holds its first of the four scheduled events in the country for 2018.

Eric squares off with Brazilian standout Rafael Nunes on the undercard of ONE: Global Superheroes, while Edward crosses paths with Cambodia’s Meas Meul in a three-round featherweight clash.

It is the first time both of them will be featured at a ONE Championship event together, and Edward plans to make it a night they will never forget.

“I am so excited because finally, it’s going to happen. It marks the first time that I will compete alongside my older brother. Surely, it’s going to be a memorable night for the both of us,” he said.

“We have the same aim of winning. So making it two for two on this card will make this extra special.”

As Eric seeks to get back on the winning track at the expense of Nunes, Edward is likewise looking to move forward in his career after getting his three-bout winning streak snapped by American stalwart Emilio Urrutia in August 2017.

In his next cage outing, Edward goes up against Meul, a undefeated promotional newcomer with six wins to his credit.

“My coaches has prepared me well for this. I am not going to disappoint my team and my country when I enter that cage on 26th of January,” Edward assured. “I don’t want to let my countrymen down this time. I am here to give them a great bout.

“And of course, win the bout in impressive fashion for them.”

Edward has no qualms if he has to go full three rounds with Meul, but he admitted that his sights are always set on securing the finish.

“I am looking to dominate him for three rounds. But hopefully, I can get the finish,” he vowed.

“A finish will be the perfect way to tell the world that I am back.”

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Basketball

Roger Pogoy churns best performance against former teammates

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Prior to Wednesday, all eyes were on the TNT Katropa-Blackwater Elite face-off, with many curious to see how last season’s Rookie of the Year Roger Pogoy would fare against his former FEU teammates Mac Belo and Raymar Jose.

And as the final buzzer sounded, the 25-year-old Pogoy had reigned triumphant over his close pals, getting away with a conference-best performance as a bonus.

The six-foot-two Cebuano sniper fired a game-high 24 points on 10-of-14 shooting, along with eight rebounds, three assists, and two steals, to lead the Texters to a skid-ending, 92-83 victory at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.

“Must-win talaga namin ‘to para makabawi kami, kasi 1-2 na yung standing namin (before the game) eh.

“Buti na lang maganda yung nilaro ko,” said Pogoy, who was just averaging 11.3 points in the past three games.

But Pogoy tipped his hat to the much taller Elite, who enjoyed plenty of time in the driver’s seat in the first half, until the Katropa found their groove in the third canto — highlighted by a 16-3 rally that put them ahead, 60-53.

“Malakas yung Blackwater eh, tapos ang lalaki nila kaya mahirap mag-drive, mahirap pumasa kasi naagaw nila,” said Pogoy. “Buti na lang naka-adjust kami nung second half. Hindi kami nagmadali, dinahan-dahan namin.”

Aside from his own outing, Pogoy is thankful that they were able to address their fourth quarter woes when facing the Elite — the issue that hounded them in their 76-88 loss to the San Miguel Beermen last Saturday in Iloilo.

TNT had actually been mere steps away from melting down — again — against Blackwater, no thanks to a 20-9 run that wiped out their 17-point lead to just six,

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Basketball

With Nash Racela knowing his tendencies, Mac Belo limited to poor shooting

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Prior to Wednesday, Blackwater Elite’s young star Mac Belo was on a roll early in the 2018 Philippine Cup, averaging exactly 20 points on 42.6 percent shooting in their games against Meralco, Rain or Shine, and Ginebra.

But, as they say, good things must come to an end.

Belo, despite having 13 rebounds, was held to just nine points on 4-of-18 shooting as the Elite bowed to TNT Katropa, 92-83 — a sour loss knowing that they’re coming off huge 94-77 win against Ginebra last Friday.

“Bukol,” said Belo in jest of his poor outing after the match. “Big test para sa’min kasi yung TNT talagang isang de-kalibreng team dito sa PBA.

“Talagang pinaghandaan nila kami, at gustong-gusto nila manalo.”

It also did not help that the Katropa’s head coach, Nash Racela, was his coach in FEU Tamaraws for three years — a relationship brightly highlighted by a championship run in the UAAP Season 78 back in 2015.

“Siyempre alam niya yung mga tendencies ko. Matagal ko siyang coach sa FEU,” said the 6-foot-4 forward.

“Sa akin naman, kailangan ko pa matuto sa ganun, kung anong mga defense binabato niya sakin. Kailangan ko pang pag-aralan.”

But for Belo, the loss was more than his own showing. The 25-year-old lamented his and the Elite’s lapses on defense, which was encapsulated by the second half collapse they had that allowed TNT to come back and steal the win.

“Medyo marami lang kaming lapses especially sa defense namin,” said the sophomore forward, as they allowed TNT to shoot 41.6 percent from the floor. “Maraming mga miscommunication na kailangan pa namin i-work.”

Belo and the Elite are now set to move on from this bitter defeat, as they all shift their sights in their match this Friday versus GlobalPort Batang Pier. For the Gilas Pilipinas stalwart, it is already a must-win for them.

“Kailangan namin ng rest ngayon kasi back-to-back games kami. We need to win sa Friday para okay sa’min,” said Belo. “Kailangan din namin paghandaan kasi galing sila sa win.

“Kailangan namin i-double yung effort namin.”

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