Dani Ravena steps up in Game Two as Ateneo forces winner-take-all

In a game where defensive stability is needed more than ever by the Katipunan squad, sophomore libero Dani Ravena readily rose up to the occasion and delivered big time.

The Ateneo de Manila University Lady Eagles said not today as they subdued the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Golden Tigresses in four sets, 26-24, 14-25, 25-21, 25-15, earlier in Game Two of the UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena.

After dropping the second set coming from a hard-earned opening set win, the Lady Eagles showed composure in the next two sets as they played their usual game to take the win, successfully extending the title series to a winner-take-all match.

Amid the double-digit scoring performances of Maddie Madayag, Bea de Leon, and Kat Tolentino, the Katipunan squad found a hero in Ravena who helped ease Ateneo’s previous defensive woes.

Coming from Game One where UST outplayed Ateneo with a 10-1 service point, the sophomore libero lifted her team with a double-double defensive performance, registering 22 excellent digs and 12 receives.

Ravena, hailed as Best Player of the Game, said she was motivated with her seniors, wanting to fulfill their wishes of playing one more game and taking the title.

“In my head, my mindset was, ‘How can we say no to the request of the seniors, e gusto pa nilang mag-training sa Thursday?’ How can you say no to that?” Ravena said.

“‘Yung hard work nila, all these years of training and playing, that’s my motivation talaga. I really want them to have a goodbye na wala kaming regrets lahat,” she added.

Playing her first title series, Ravena said she got help from her family, all who were used to the championship atmosphere in their respective careers.

“They’ve been here for so many years, and they know how it feels like to win. That’s a blessing for me, that they share their emotions and passion, and ipapasa nila sa akin because they know it’s my first time in the finals,” Ravena said.


“That helped me a lot, knowing that there’s a thousand people behind you, and you’re playing not only for yourself but for your team,” she added.

Madayag, who top-scored Ateneo with 17 points, commended their libero for stepping up in a crucial game, saying they need more from her in their upcoming do-or-die game.

“Definitely we’re proud na ‘yung bata namin, nag-step up big time. Kailangan namin ng maingay at nagle-lead sa loob–everybody has to know what they’re doing,” Madayag said.

Team captain De Leon, who registered 13 points against UST, also praised Ravena’s defensive heroics today and said no one should underestimate the sophomore libero.

“Everyone would count her out a lot, especially last year. She worked for it, and I always tell her that you’ve earned my respect, and her maturity has grown every step of the way,” De Leon said.

Ravena and the Lady Eagles look to snatch Game Three away from the Tigresses this coming Saturday and achieve their school’s third women’s volleyball championship in the league.


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