Dissecting Thirdy’s Slow Start
You’d think that as a former UAAP MVP and with lineage that many schoolboys would kill for, Thirdy Ravena would adjust just fine to the UAAP seniors’ division… but then you’d be wrong.
As a member of Ateneo’s heralded recruitment class (San Beda’s Arvin Tolentino and Hope Christian stars Clint Doliguez and John Apacible), many were expecting a repeat of the 2008 recruitment class where names like Buenafe, Salva, and Chua contributed immediately. So far, it’s only been Tolentino who’s had an impact over the first three games.
As for the younger Ravena, it’s clear that he’s having a tough time adjusting to the senior’s division. He’s failed to register a basket in 3 games in spot minutes and even when he’s played, he hasn’t shown any glimpses of his MVP form that propelled the Blue Eaglets to the title game last year.
First of all, it doesn’t help that he’s coming off the bench behind his older brother Kiefer, who’s subsequently putting up MVP-like numbers. Second, playing mostly in bench-heavy units unfairly puts the spotlight on him to create, as opposed to being a 3rd or 4th banana and having more open lanes to the basket.
A closer look though at Thirdy’s stats from last season show that his game isn’t quite a fit for Coach Bo Perasol’s perimeter heavy offense. Meanwhile, Kiefer Ravena, Von Pessumal, and Chris Newsome have all shot decently from the outside, which is needed to help open up driving lanes.
Last season, it was clear what Thirdy wanted to do on offense – ATTACK THE FREAKING BASKET. He was a great finisher on drives to the basket, scoring on 28/56 drive possessions, including this nice posterization on the Adamson Baby Falcons.
Of course, it definitely helps that you don’t see 6’7” behemoths like AVO and Arafat protecting the rim, but the numbers are impressive nonetheless.
Ravena’s main waterloo though was his outside shooting. Thirdy shot 11/36 (30.6%) on mid-range jumpers, and a paltry 3/22 (13.6%) on 3-pointers. To his credit, he did shoot 50% (6/12) on off-the-dribble pull-up jumpers, but, again, really struggled on catch-and-shoot situations, going just 6/28 (21.4%).
Thirdy is a great creator off the dribble, registering tons of assists and hockey assists (passes that lead to assists). However, it just doesn’t make sense to trust him not only with more minutes, but the ball itself when you have veterans like Kiefer, Chris, and Nico Elorde who are more capable at creating for others. That would leave Thirdy as the third wing player on the court, but when you’re shooting just 13% on 3-pointers and 21% on spot-up opportunities, that’s just going to bog down Ateneo’s offense.
With all that said, 3 games is a tiny, tiny, TINY sample size. He won’t get too many opportunities to showcase his game this year, but there’s no doubt he has the tools to be a good-if-not-great player. The only question is whether will he be the next King Eagle like Chris Tiu and Kiefer Ravena or will he follow the footsteps of other former UAAP junior MVPS like Miggy Maniego and Ken Baraccoso.