Thirdy Ravena ended his six-year stay in Ateneo with quite an accomplished resume.
The second generation cager is a three-time UAAP champion, a three-time Finals Most Valuable Player, a two-time All-UAAP team member, and a one-time silver medalist.
But Ravena would be the first to admit that this would not have been made possible without Tab Baldwin.
“Coach Tab has done a lot for me and my career, not just inside the court, but off the court as well,” admitted Ravena after playing his final game last Wednesday.
During his rookie year, Ravena was already a physical specimen. But back then, his physique was not on the same wavelength as his mentality. And that was just on the court.
Off of it, the product of Ateneo High also struggled to balance his athletic and academic life, resulting in his probationary status in his second year.
“During that time, ‘di ko maisip kung ba’t nangyari sa akin ‘yun na sobrang unfair. But in the long run, ‘di ko ma-express ‘yung gratitude ko na nangyari ‘yun sa akin, na natutunan ko ‘yun at nagka-wake up call ako.”
If that was the wake-up call, then Ravena needed a sergeant to command him. And it came in the form of Baldwin.
The first thing that the American-Kiwi mentor noticed with Ravena was that he was an unstable ride that could go right as easily as he could go left.
“Thirdy is an incredible competitor. He’s a fighter, he’s impetuous, he’s emotional. He can go the wrong way as easily he can go the right way.”
Despite making it to the Finals during his return back in Season 79, Ravena was still a work in progress. And it was magnified during Game Two of that season’s Finals, where he went field-goal-less on 10 attempts.
That moment made him realize that the “right way” was.
The rest, as they say, was history — three championships and three Finals MVPs.
And no one was more relieved once Ravena found his way other than Baldwin.
“Fortunately for us, he so often goes that… Just by the weight of numbers, he goes the right way a lot,” said Baldwin.
“Coach Tab has done a lot for me and my career, not just inside the court, but off the court as well, and I’m just happy that I got to spent one more year with him because of that. Very grateful for that,” expressed Ravena.
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