BASKETBALL has always been the Philippines’ favorite sport throughout the years. Referring to two of the country’s passionate hardcourt heroes Christopher John A. Tiu and Kiefer Isaac C. Ravena, both Ateneans took the country by storm from the time they had donned the white and blue colors during the SBP and Passerelle days to the UAAP and unto the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) for inspiring professional careers. Both also had stints in the FIBA championships and Southeast Asian Games wherein they were a core to the country’s squad in winning titles.
Milo Best Center Program to pros
With both being products of the country renowned Milo Best Center Program, Chris Tiu came up first with winning titles in the SBP and Passerelle categories in the 1990s until 2001 before strutting his wares in the UAAP winning four titles for the white and blue clad Ateneo de Manila University. He then joined the national team “Gilas” in 2008 to 2011 and in 2018 coinciding his PBA stint with the Rain Or Shine Elasto Painters.
Ravena then filled Tiu’s sneakers for the Ateneo de Manila University for the SBP and Passerelle in 2006-2007 and had exposures in the FIBA Under 16 and 18 Asian Championships as well as the UAAP Juniors in 2007 – 2011 before entering the UAAP Seasons 72-75 earning him two MVP honors (2015, 2016). A member of the Philippine team (2011, 2013, 2015, 2017, 2019) and currently in the PBA with the Nlex Road Warriors. Ravena to date is the latest endorser of the Jordan brand sneakers and apparel making him the first Filipino to join the likes of the world’s upcoming hardcourt icons Zion Williamson, Satou Sabally, Luka Dončić, Jayson Tatum, Asia Durr, and Kia Nurse.
Inspiration to the new generation
Seventeen year-old Onin Miguel Carlos C. Develos is a huge fan of both Chris Tiu and Kiefer Ravena. As early as six, Onin Miguel joined and finished the Milo Best Center Program initiated by local coaches in Davao City. He then don his wares for the Ateneo de Davao University Blue Knights in which had stints in the SBP and Passerelle tournaments with coaches Ramon Pido and Enzo Nitorreda since he was 10 until 14 years of age.
He tried to imitated Tiu’s pinpoint passes and Ravena’s slashing moves toward the hoop that helped his SBP team earned two regional finals in 2008 and 2009 and a lone national final stint back in 2010. During his Passerelle years, which he was not lucky enough due to a slight injury, he and the rest of the Ateneo Blue Knights fell short of a regional finals chance.
Despite playing in the varsity team, he maintained academic honors that kept him in the team and continued to play 3on3 local tournaments.
“I was really happy to see them play especially Kiefer Ravena,” said Onin Miguel who also don Ravena’s no. 15 and wore a pair of Nike’s whenever he plays.
With the ongoing state of pandemic crisis, kids like Onin Miguel could only get inspired to continue their workout and conditioning at home watching Milo’s online sessions which were launched this year, hoping that the pandemic will soon be over and for them to go back to the hardcourt on a five-on-five play.
The dream of playing in the UAAP and a probable stint in the PBA could be at hand as one’s mindset comes with inspiration.
Since then, until today, despite the pandemic or injuries, kids like Onin Miguel still bring that championship attitude that both true-blooded Ateneans Chris Tiu and Kieffer Ravena inspired them to do so.
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