MANILA, Philippines – Thirdy Ravena was simply a man on a mission during the Ateneo Blue Eagles’ 91-77 demolition of the UST Growling Tigers in Game 1 of the UAAP Season 82 men’s basketball finals on Saturday, November 16.
The reigning two-time Finals MVP made everyone remember exactly what he can do at full capacity after erupting for a season-high 32 points on a stellar 14-of-18 shooting clip with 5 rebounds and 3 assists.
Ravena’s previous topscoring mark for the year was 20 markers, which he reached just after halftime in a wire-to-wire Ateneo masterclass in the best-of-three opener.
For the Ateneo star, it all boiled down to the fact that his time in the UAAP will be done in, at most, the next two games.
“One of the reasons is the fact that it’s my last year, and I don’t want to say at the end of the season that I didn’t give it my all,” he said in the post-game presser.
“So I’m just laying it all on the line for my teammates and for the community because I don’t want to leave with the feeling that I was still able to give something.”
“For me, it’s just about doing whatever it takes to make your teammates better, help the team win and to make sure the community is happy.”
In his last 5 finals games, Ravena has certainly done all that and more after averaging an eye-popping 25.6 points, 7.0 rebounds and 5.4 assists over a three-year stretch.
For this latest display of all-around brilliance, Ravena felt that the openings were there early on, and he just took advantage.
“Di na ako nagpabaya. Kung makakita lang ako ng opening, makakita ako ng walang help side or alam kong hindi ako mahahabol ng help side, I just tried to be aggressive,” he said.
“And yung mentality lang na ‘to to take it strong all the time kasi kahit naman magmintis ‘yun, alam kong nandiyan si Ange [Kouame] and the [forwards] to rebound the ball.”
(I didn’t loosen up. If I saw an opening, no help side or if I knew the help side couldn’t catch up, I just tried to be aggressive. That’s the mentality to just take it strong all the time because even if I miss my shots, I know Ange and the forwards are there to rebound the ball.)
“That’s all, just take it strong because good things will come if you go hard to the basket,” he continued.
“Whether you make a defender commit for you to give an extra pass, whether it's an open lane because you left your defender, whether it's a foul or an offensive rebound for your teammates, a lot of opportunities open up when you attack strong.”
With the Blue Eagles now on the cusp of a historic season sweep with another win on Wednesday, November 20, Ravena is just keeping himself grounded and focused on the task at hand.
“What we've been preaching these past few years is that the most important game is the next game,” he said. “And for us, every single game that we win, it's always a 0-0 mentality. The next game, we just want 1-0. That has always been our mentality and approach in the game.” – Rappler.com