Undoubtedly, Kiefer Ravena is the face of college basketball. He might not be the best collegiate player right now (that title might belong to either Scottie Thompson, Jio Jalalon or Art Dela Cruz), but he’s definitely the most popular. You can see him everywhere. He’s on TV, on billboards across the metro, on different commercials on print and on television, and who knows, maybe he’s beside you right now, reading this article with you. Point is, Kiefer Ravena is EVERYWHERE. People know him. They may not like him, but they know him. He’s a household name at this point.
He’s also the best player in the UAAP today.
But, this isn’t the “best player in the league” watch. This is the MVP Watch. So the question which is posed to us is…
Is Kiefer Ravena the Most Valuable Player in the UAAP?
Yes. If you ask me, he is the Most Valuable Player right now. But he isn’t alone.
Tigers on the Run
The UST Growling Tigers weren’t expected to be Final Four contenders this year. The Final Four was pretty much set before the season started. FEU, Ateneo, La Salle and NU (not necessarily in order) were being written as the locks for Season 78. After all, the Growling Tigers were coming off a season where they underachieved after poor performances from the players and head coach Bong Dela Cruz.
That hasn’t been the case this year.
UST has been outstanding this season, blending offense and defense excellently when it comes to their brand of basketball. At the forefront of their rise into the ranks are their undisputed leaders, Kevin Ferrer and Ed Daquioag.
I said so myself on Twitter, Ferrer and Daquioag remind me so much of how Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are for the Oklahoma City Thunder. I’m not saying that Ferrer’s style is like that of Durant and Daquioag is comparable to guys like Westbrook or Jayson Castro. Not at all. The comparison between the two duos is based on how one player can take over for the other when the other is having a cold performance. If you didn’t get that, my point is this: KFer and Easy Ed are both very good at basketball. Thus, their inclusion in the MVP race. However, just like Westbrook and Durant, one guy has to take a step back in order for the other to fully shine. In this case, it’s Daquioag who takes a step back for Ferrer.
Since this is the case, Daquioag is the unquestioned #3 in the MVP race. That means, Ferrer is Ravena’s chief challenger for the crown after one round of action in the UAAP. So, who takes it?
Kiefer vs. KFer
The Phenom and KFer have been rivals ever since their high school days. Pretty much like how Arvin Tolentino and Prince Rivero are today. They’ve been pitted against each other, with Kiefer clearly having the upper hand after winning two championships, two nods to the Mythical Five, and an MVP award. From the looks of it, Ferrer has had enough of that.
While Kiefer has been struggling as of late, Kevin has been HOT. AS IN HOT. He’s posting an ultra impressive PER of 35.4 (good for first in the league), and at the same time is averaging 18.3 points per game. KFer hasn’t been hogging up all the possessions in order to produce, posting a USG% of 26.2%. All things considered, those are very efficient numbers.
He’s also been able to do work on both ends of the floor, posting offensive win shares of 1.5 (!!), defensive win shares of 0.5 for a total win shares stat of 2.0. His ratings have been amazing as well, as he has been putting up an ORTG of 114.5, and a DRTG of 76.1. The most important stat among all of this? His Tigers are on top with a 6-1 record.
Kiefer has something to say about that though.
Ravena hasn’t been particularly efficient this year, but that’s no thanks to how much load he’s had to carry (32.6 USG%). Think of how LeBron James was in the 2015 NBA Finals. He’s been doing everything. As in everything. Advanced stats haven’t been friendly to Kiefer, but he’s found ways to convince people that he’s still one of the favorites to win the MVP this year.
Kiefer has a stat line of 18.3 points, 7.1 rebounds, 5.0 assists, and 1.7 steals. No one in the league has been able to put up a stat line that all around ever since well… Kiefer himself, who had 21.2 points, 5.9 rebounds, 5.6 assists, and 1.5 steals last year. Other than those stats, the King Eagle has also been putting up an AST% of 35.0 this season, good for third in the league. That means when Kiefer was on the floor, he assisted on 35% of his teammates’ field goals. Amazing stuff right there.
So, who rules the MVP race after the first round of action? Kiefer or KFer?
If you ask me, it’s 1a and 1b between these two right now.
This rivalry of theirs at this point reminds me so much of the LeBron James-Kevin Durant battles we’ve seen these past few years in the NBA. Durant is the offensive machine who posts crazy efficient stats, while LeBron is the do-it-all guy who simply finds different ways to be effective for his team. With one more round of action, expect the race between these two be even tighter.
|1a||Kiefer Ravena||Ateneo Blue Eagles|
|1b||Kevin Ferrer||UST Growling Tigers|
|3||Ed Daquioag||UST Growling Tigers|
|4||Jeron Teng||DLSU Green Archers|
|5||Alfred Aroga||NU Bulldogs|