When he was still with Ateneo, coach Bo Perasol already has an inkling of how big the potential of wingman Thirdy Ravena was.
Perasol, however, failed to realize that fully since the 6-foot-2 Ravena, the younger brother of two-time league MVP and Blue Eagles star guard Kiefer, struggled on his rookie year and failed to see action during his final run with Ateneo last year due to academic deficiencies.
On Wednesday, Perasol finally saw what he’s been looking for from Thirdy Ravena but, unfortunately, he found himself on the receiving end.
“That could have been his game,” said Perasol after Ravena torched University of the Philippines with a career-best 22 points while leading Ateneo to a 79-64 victory for a solo second spot in the UAAP Season 79 men’s basketball tourney at the Mall of Asia Arena.
“He should have played for me last year. He could helped us nu’ng season na ‘yun,” he added.
Perasol, however, is not too keen on dwelling on the past. But Ravena, who added 10 rebounds, three assists and a block, has certainly left him impressed in their initial meeting as UAAP rivals.
“He has the potential to do that, more than that even,” stressed Perasol. “Sana he was able to play for us, pero that’s just hindsight. Panahon niya talaga ngayon. I’m proud seeing him now to be a better basketball player.”
Even Ateneo’s active consultant Tab Baldwin took notice of how quick Ravena is showing signs of vast improvements.
“Today he played with composure and that’s what we are striving for with him,” he said. “He is just learning the game and understanding our system. Now we want to see consistency. I think if we do, we will have solid outings.”
Confident that Ravena has a bright future ahead, Baldwin maintained he wants to see the former UAAP juniors MVP keep his focus on improving on a consistent basis.
“There’s no question that on anyone’s mind that Thirdy has a lot of potential and a big future. But the future is a long way off, the focus is day to day. He is really working his butt and he is making progress,” stressed the current Gilas Pilipinas mentor. – By Jerome Lagunzad