The Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles had a chance to at least battle for the last twice-to-beat incentive going into the Final Four of the 78th season of the UAAP as they faced the UE Red Warriors last Sunday.
However, a dismal first half – Ateneo just scored five points in the second quarter – and a 14 point lead by the Red Warriors at one point in the third quarter were more than enough to snap the five-game winning streak of the Blue Eagles. Moreover, the loss destroyed Ateneo’s hopes of gaining a twice-to-beat advantage in the Final Four.
Ravena, who scored 15 of his 28 points in the fourth quarter, admitted to Tiebreaker Times that he has regrets about the game in saying, “Sayang. A win could have given us an opportunity for a playoff [for the twice-to-beat incentive] but it is what it is so we have to prepare for the cards dealt to us.”
The Smart Elite ambassador made no excuses about the loss in saying that the team’s “bad habits” came to bite them. “We could have done it in the first half and continued on in the second but yun nga yung bad habits. Nagrerelax kami and ako. Kelangan namin 100% talaga all game long,” the Ateneo skipper said. “If the game was close in the first half and did not reach double-digits [UE’s lead], it could have been a different story. UE dictated the pace and hindi sila naubusan.”
He then added that inconsistencies on both ends must be eliminated especially in facing a well-oiled FEU Tamaraw squad in the semifinals. “Bad habits e. We can’t just ‘turn it on’ especially when we’re about to face FEU. They are a championship team and we can’t just do that,” he added.
Looking forward to the Final Four, Ravena wants his teammates to eliminate all distractions that could hinder the team’s chemistry going into the playoffs. This included the report from Spin.ph that reported that sophomore student-athlete Hubert Cani wanted to move-out of the Eagle’s nest and transfer to a rival university. Learning from the lessons of their tumultuous October, the second-generation cager disclosed to Tiebreaker Times the advice he told Cani. “Talked to Hubert about it and even he was surprised with what happened. Nagulat din siya with what transpired,” he shared. “Sabi ko na lang ‘wala e, may mga ganiyan talaga. Just prove yourself, prove your worth and everyone will eventually shut up.’”
Ravena closed in saying that the team just has a simple mindset come the Final Four.
“Just have to win it twice. The goal is to win four more games. We just have to take it one game at a time, one opponent at a time.”