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How Denden Lazaro helped Dani Ravena overcome UAAP 81 Finals jitters

Ateneo libero Dani Ravena played a huge role when the Lady Eagles evened up the series after a four-set victory in Game Two of the UAAP Season 81 Women’s Volleyball Finals.

Earning Player of the Game honors, the youngest of the three Ravena siblings tallied 22 digs and 13 excellent receptions. And her performances helped Ateneo fend off the Sisi Rondina-led University of Santo Tomas.

But heading into the title-clinching Game Three, Ravena was in shambles.

During an appearance in Volleyball DNA, the 20-year-old Ravena revealed how she was able to calm her nerves in time for the winner-take-all bout.

“I messaged ate Denden [Lazaro] before Game Three,” shared Ravena.

“Yeah, Finals ‘yun and I was like random na, ‘I’ll try to message Ate Den kasi at first, I was really shy.’ I asked Ate Ly [Valdez] pa if she can text ate Den. tapos sabi ni Ate Ly, ‘Just text her, send the message’. And I sent a long message and ate Den also sent a long message. ‘Yung nakuha ko talaga doon was to enjoy the game.”

One of the most decorated defensive specialists in the game today, Lazaro had the same path as Ravena — playing for the Lady Eagles. And for Ravena, there was no doubt in her mind that the ‘Iron Eagle’ could help her get through that rough patch.

“Ate Denden also experienced my… The things that I’m gonna experience nung Finals, because she’s also been in my shoes. So I just really had to ask her for some advice,” said Ravena.

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Ravena also shared that she always watches Lazaro’s old games before she hits the court.

“Kasi before each game, I try to watch ate Denden’s highlights, her past games and also other liberos as well just to like remind myself na, ‘Oh, ito pala ‘yung puwede kong gawin.’ That’s very important for me. I have Ate Denden to thank for that,” bared Ravena.

The two first crossed paths during Ateneo’s training sessions, which Lazaro visited.

And upon seeing the younger Ravena on the Taraflex, Lazaro only had nice things to say about the second generation spiker’s game.

“Ang napansin ko sa kanya is she has so much energy. Alam mo ‘yun, kahit lagi siyang pinupuna ni Coach O [Almadro]… ‘di naman siya pinapagalitan, like. Siya ‘yung laging binibigyan ng reminders ni coach, like oo lang siya nang oo, gagawin niya lang. And hindi siya nawawalan ng energy, which is a big quality — a big asset when you’re a libero, ‘cause you’re like the ball of energy of the team when you’re in the court.”

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