Thirdy Ravena is enjoying a storybook ending to his stellar collegiate career, leading the Ateneo de Manila Blue Eagles to a historic 16-0 season en route to the UAAP Season 82 Men’s Basketball title.
The Katipunan-based squad edged the University of Sto. Tomas Growling Tigers, 86-79, in Game 2 on Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena, winning their 11th UAAP Senior’s title in franchise history.
“Finals Thirdy” once again rose to the occasion, as Ravena was awarded his third straight Finals MVP award, after averaging 24.5 points in two games. Speaking post-game, the 6’3 athletic specimen once again emphasized that his team’s success far outweighs any individual accolades he gets along the way.
“Para sa akin, ganun talaga, bonus lang yun eh. Kaya rin siya gumagana cuz it’s every single one of us ginagawa ginanagawa yung roles namin to the best of our abilities. Whether big or small. Yun ang strength namin. We all want to do it for one another. Honestly, mas masarap yung feeling na nag champion kami ng tatlong beses kesa sa mag MVP ng tatlong beses,” he said.
After nothing 32 points, five rebounds and three assists in Game 1, Ravena cooled down a bit but still managed to come up with 17 points in the close-out match. He and SJ Belangel hit crucial shots down the stretch, preventing UST from securing a comeback.
Under Tab Baldwin’s watchful eye, Ateneo has been a model of consistency throughout Season 82. The team also embraced a “next man up” mentality, with several role players stepping up in the eliminations, helping them achieve a pristine record in 16 matches.
“Masarap. Masarap hindi dahil nanalo kami, masarap kasi we won it in a way na we were playing for one another,” Ravena described his final collegiate title.
“It’s an incredible feeling, di ko ma-describe eh. It’s an incredible feeling. Di ko ma-describe eh. I just want to thank the entire team. Tinatanong nila kung pano namin nagawa yung 16-0, yung sagot ko is that strength doesn’t lie with one person, with one player, or one coach, but it lies on all of us. It lies because we want to play for another and we preach servanthood. Kaya kami malakas, kaya gumanagana yung system is that we do what we do not for ourselves but for our teammates and the guy beside us on the bench,” he added.