Fast (really fast!) friendsBy Tatin Yang |Philippine Daily Inquirer
Though Ateneo Blue Eagle Kiefer Ravena and San Beda Red Lion Baser Amer don’t duke it out on the same basketball league, the two are considered rivals. Both reign supreme in their respective courts—Ravena’s UAAP, Amer’s NCAA—and parallels have inevitably been made regarding their athletic prowess.
It was during a Nike Elite match that the two played against each other and discovered how equally matched they were. Kiefer recalled how he first came across Baser’s skills on the court. “Nung unang beses ko siya bantayan, may sumisigaw na taga-Davao, ‘Shooter ’yan, shooter ’yan!’ Tapos naka-three point shot siya. Dun na kami nagkakilala talaga,” said Kiefer. “We had a lot of games against each other … sobrang competitive naming dalawa.”
The two became fast friends, though their competitive streak still rears its head often, even off the court. Asked if their rivalry spills over their private lives, both answered yes immediately. “Nag-do-DotA kami sa bahay ni Kiefer,” said Amer. DotA is Defense of the Ancients, an online multiplayer battle game. “DotA, tapos asaran. Lokohan. Yung bahay namin parang dorm ng mga players,” explained Kiefer. “Lahat welcome sa kanila,” added Baser.
The two even rooted for different teams during the NBA playoffs. Kiefer was cheering for Miami Heat to win, while Baser insisted the San Antonio Spurs were going to take the championship.
This year, the two players have major roles in their respective teams. Kiefer commented on how the Red Lions is a team to watch, and admired Baser’s playing style, especially his ball-passing skills. “It’s really hard to defend him at first; even if you stop him, another teammate of his will take advantage. Kahit na-stop mo, napasa na niya, makaka-shoot pa rin yung teammate niya. Two points, three points din yun kahit anong gawin mo,” Kiefer said. When we asked Baser about Kiefer’s own strengths on the court, he laughed and said, “Lahat strength! Grabe yung confidence niya, lalo na shooting niya. Sobrang hirap bantayan, kailangan i-double-team palagi.”
On a personal level, Kiefer pointed out how reserved Baser is. “Mahiyain siya. Sobrang mahiyain. Sometimes he would tell me things na ’di niya masabi sa iba, so natutulungan ko siya ’dun. My mom would also give him advice, ganun,” he said.
Though quiet and shy, Baser is a very encouraging friend, according to Kiefer. “We have fun, we’re friends on and off the court, and it’s really nice to know na nag-e-exist yung ganitong friendship, kahit sa basketball na akala pag magkalaban, magkaaway,” Kiefer mused.
The two have actually become better friends than rivals, such that playing against each other now has funny consequences. “Usually pag naglalaro kaming dalawa, pangit na yun laro namin kasi nagkukulitan kami!” said Ravena with a laugh.