By: Ohmer Bautista
With their lives and championship hopes on the line, the Ateneo de Manila University Lady Eagles picked up a huge win and forced a winner-take-all Game Three against the University of Santo Tomas Golden Tigresses.
Their high-octane offense – powered by Maddie Madayag, Kat Tolentino, and Bea De Leon – was not the winning factor for the Lady Eagles, however. It was sophomore libero Dani Ravena who exemplified throughout the match that defense can truly win games.
Patrolling the floor for Ateneo, Ravena tallied 24 excellent digs and 12 excellent receptions. Moreover, her floor defense complimented Ateneo’s net defense, which recorded 11 blocks in the match.
After the game, the youngest of the three Ravena siblings admitted that her desire to extend her graduating seniors’ UAAP career was the main engine for her stellar defensive outing.
“In my head, my mindset was ‘how can we say no to the request of the seniors?’ Gusto pa nila mag-training sa Thursday. So… I mean, how can you say no to that? Yung hard work nila, all those years of training and playing. So that’s my main motivation talaga,” expressed Ravena.
“I really want them to have a goodbye na wala lahat kaming regrets.”
On a side note, for a sophomore like Ravena, playing for her upperclassmen’s fairy tale ending is a good source for one’s motivation.
However, the defensive specialist confided that her strength to play through pressure and adversity comes from her family.
In fact, being a Ravena did wonders for Dani.
“Last night my mom called, this morning my brother Thirdy called, and then here in the arena, Kiefer called. My dad naman always talks to me. I guess they’ve been here for so many years,” she shared.
“They know how it feels like to win and to lose. So I think that’s a blessing talaga for me that they share all their emotions and their passion, napapasa nila sa akin ‘cause they know that it’s my first time in the Finals.”
As the Lady Eagles live to fight another day, expect to see Ravena to soar and fly with strong winds underneath her wings.
“I think that helped me a lot knowing the fact that there’s like a thousand people behind you. And you’re playing not only for yourself, but for your teammates and the whole community.”
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