|At 43, Rafi Reavis remains one of the Hotshots' key players especially defensively. PBA Images (file photo)|
MANILA--With a compressed PBA schedule to make up for the postponed games due to suspected COVID-19 cases inside the Angeles bubble, teams like Magnolia have to deal playing in back-to-back days.
For the likes of 43-year-old Rafi Reavis, it is a test if he still has something left to at least survive this grueling schedule especially that the minutes of his team's main center, Ian Sangalang, has to be monitored as well.
Needless to say, Reavis did not just survive but even was impressive.
Starting in both games against TNT and Terrafirma, the six-foot-eight big man held his ground against younger bigs like Poy Erram, Troy Rosario, Christian Balagasay, and Rooseveelt Adams.
Reavis played nearly 30 minutes for the Hotshots in their 102-92 stunner against the Tropang Giga, contributing six points, four rebounds, one assist, one block, and one steal.
Reavis had a relatively quiet numbers against the Dyip, only making two points and five rebounds in 26 and a half minutes.
But aside from having more playing time than Sangalang, it was the intangibles like his solid defensive presence that made Reavis a key figure in Magnolia's back-to-back wins.
And Coach Chito Victolero knows why.
"Grabe yung character and discipline ni Rafi. Nakikita mo naman ang nilalaro nya ngayon at a high level," Victolero said after his team's win against Terrafirma on Thursday night at the Angeles University Foundation Sports and Cultural Center.
[Related Story: Magnolia bucks slow start, trips winless Terrafirma]
Victolero added that he is aware of Reavis' work ethic ever since the former was still a player.
"Alam ko yan kasi before, we're teammates sa San Juan Knights," Victolero further said.
Both Victolero and Reavis were teammates for the Knights when they won their first championship, the 2000 MBA title.
Both players eventually declared for the PBA Draft two years later.
Reavis, the second overall pick of the said draft, is the only active player left from a then promising class that also includes top pick Yancy De Ocampo, combo guard Chris Calaguio, streak shooter Ren-Ren Ritualo, Celino Cruz, and Aries Dimaunahan.
Although already way past his high-flying prime, Reavis remains one of the players the Hotshots are looking up to.
"He's my anchor on defense and especially yung leadership nya. Yan yung pinakaimportante sa akin. Ang laking influence ni Rafi sa team namin, and I'm very happy kasi nagagawa nya yung role nya not only on the court but also off the court," Victolero further said.
Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno_