Though the scoreline did not show it, the game between the Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles and the Far Eastern University Tamaraws was a highly-physical one.
And nothing epitomized the hard play between two teams like the clashes of Thirdy Ravena and Alec Stockton.
While the Blue Eagles were in the midst of a game-breaking run during the third canto, sophomore guard Stockton clocked a driving Ravena as he was leading a break. Stockton was called for a disqualifying foul that will result in an automatic suspension next season.
“‘Di naman masyado pisikal yung laro no? Kaunti lang. I mean, basketball, ganun talaga. I know they’re competitors. They’ll do whatever it takes to take an advantage, especially if twice to beat [yung kalaban],” recalled Ravena. “Pipikunin ka, sasaktan ka, but at the end of the day you just have to do what you have to do.
“You shouldn’t let physicality or whatever they do to get in your head, it’s a chain reaction eh.”
But moments prior to what happened, Ravena and Stockton were already at it, as the 6-foot-4 forward from Ateneo took down the 6-foot-1 combo guard mid-air.
Stockton was not available for comment afterwards.
Still, Ravena played on, finishing the game with 22 points, seven rebounds, four assists, two steals, and a block.
And he drew praise from Ateneo assistant coach Sandy Arespacochaga.
“We want to see from the players to elevate their game when they get hit instead of hitting back. Thirdy played great,” beamed Arespacochaga.
“It’s that approach that we want our players to have and not get distracted by the pain they are in.”
“Kahit naman ano gawin nila, the game goes on. ‘Pag napikon ako sa kanya or nasa utak ko gumanti, nasasayang yung energy,” added Ravena.
“Yung negative energy, walang mapupuntahan eh.”