Heading into the UAAP Season 80 Men’s Basketball Finals, the Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles have prided themselves in their uncanny discipline and their knack for finding each other on the court.
And Thirdy Ravena best exemplified this, as he constanly got his numbers by not stepping over his teammates. Moreover, the Blue Eagles’ biggest moments during the post-season came from his passes.
During Game One of the Finals, the 6-foot-2 utility forward found Isaac Go underneath with 10.4 seconds remaining, that served as the dagger in Ateneo’s 76-70 win. Ravena followed it up with another one during Ateneo’s title-clinching win, finding Go once more for title-clinching triple with 24.7 ticks left that led to the Blue Eagles their ninth UAAP Men’s Basketball championship.
That’s why when the third-year Blue Eagle was awarded with the Finals Most Valuable Player crown, he was quick to grab Chibueze Ikeh and Isaac Go to join him on the podium.
“Well I guess I don’t know. The reward isn’t like, for me, the team deserves that award,” said Ravena, who averaged 16.3 points, 6.7 rebounds, 4.3 assists, and 1.3 steals in the Finals.
“They all deserve the award.”
All throughout the season, the Blue Eagles had different players earn the Player of the Game award. From Tyler Tio to Ravena, different Blue Eagles had a hand in Ateneo’s 16 wins.
“I’m just doing my job. I’m not doing anything special. We’re doing the same job. I’m doing the same job as Vince [Tolentino], Matt [Nieto], Ice [Go], Ikeh, and everyone in the team. Even those players you don’t really see on the court. They’re with us in practice every single today,” shared the 20-year-old.
“They’ve been with us in the journey.”
“I think we were leadership by committee this year. We have guys in there that are great-character guys. Some of them are quiet,” shared second-year Ateneo head coach Tab Baldwin about how special this team is.
Perhaps this award is the culmination of the sacrifices he has made for the team.
“I just want to congratulate my team because that award, it’s not possible if it weren’t for all of us working together.”