Ateneo regained its sharp form at the expense of defending champion Far Eastern U on Wednesday and so did comebacking wingman Thirdy Ravena.
The 6-foot-2 Ravena displayed flashes of his brilliance, helping the Blue Eagles hold off the late-charging Tamaraws, 76-71, to get their UAAP Season 79 men’s basketball title campaign back on track at the Mall of Asia Arena.
A non-factor in their 60-70 loss to National U last Sunday when he could only come up with a pair of points in six attempts, Ravena bounced back big as he tallied a team-high 17 markers, five of them coming in the crunch that enabled Ateneo to pull away from FEU in a frantic finish.
A conscious effort to let him feel the flow of the match made the difference.
“‘Yung mentality ko na mag-relax lang (ang nagbago). Kasi once you stick to the system, the game will come to you. Hindi mo na kailangan hanapin,” said the younger brother of former Ateneo star and two-time league MVP Kiefer during the post-match interview.
While he made the clutch buckets, including a tough lay-up that broke a 66-all count and put Ateneo ahead for good, Ravena was also quick enough to deflect the credit to his teammates, who stepped up in the absence of wingman Aaron Black who injured his left foot in the early goings.
“My teammates were there to deliver the ball pretty well and in good rotation naman. Everyone poured out their whole effort that’s why we’re able to get the win,” said Ravena, a former UAAP juniors MVP who missed the cut last year due to academic woes.
Teaming up with Ravena during Ateneo’s closeout was guard Anton Asistio, who tallied all but two of his five points in the stretch.
Four other Blue Eagles, led by Adrian Wong, also tallied at least eight markers each.
““Everyone was there to contribute naman in scoring so it wasn’t really a problem,” said Ravena, who also added three rebounds and a pair of assists. “I just feel that I needed to do what I have to do. I tried to stick the ball to the basket as much as I could and try to find my teammates.” – By Jerome Lagunzad
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