Ravena, Tolentino ready to take flight with star-studded Ateneo

Levi Verora
Will the Ateneo Blue Eagles basketball team fly high again? New recruits Thirdy Ravena and Arvin Tolentino will do their parts to ensure they do

THE NEW GUYS. Ateneo newcomers Thirdy Ravena (L) and Arvin Tolentino (R) look to inject life into the Blue Eagles. Photos by Ryan Songalia/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – Will the once fallen Blue Eagles be able to take flight again?

Shortly after saying goodbye to their high school basketball careers, incoming Ateneo de Manila University freshman stars Arvin Tolentino and Thirdy Ravena are already gearing up for the next UAAP season where they will team up with the rest of the Katipunan dribblers, hoping to transform themselves into contenders.

Saddled with injuries all-season long, the Blue Eagles missed the Final Four for the first time in 15 years after finishing in fifth seed the year after they copped their fifth straight UAAP title. They also pulled out of the preseason tournament weeks before the UAAP kicked off. But with the arrival of two blue-chip recruits, they will enter the new season with several new boosts.

Thirdy Ravena will join hands with older brother Kiefer Ravena, the Season 74 Rookie of the Year and already a two-time champion in the college wars. With Kiefer taking the league by storm, Thirdy wants to do the same.

“I tried to make it as serious as possible; I want to make this game count and be better. I make the most out of the opportunities I get,” said the younger Ravena, who exited the UAAP juniors basketball with the Most Valuable Player trophy with him.

A prolific defender, Thirdy Ravena will best compliment his brother who is a legitimate scorer. The former’s quickness and hustle are some things he says he could bring to the table. 

“My role is to provide energy for the team and defense. That’s what Coach Bo (Perasol) saw in me.”

A new, exciting flight

San Beda Red Cub Arvin Tolentino meanwhile, is no stranger to success. He had five championships with one of the most successful high school squads, dominating the NCAA tournament every single year.

With the San Beda-backed Team Calabarzon, Tolentino won back-to-back Palarong Pambansa crowns with the likes of Ranbill Tongco, Andrei Caracut, Adven Diputado, and Jayvee Mocon joining the fray. The same team represented the country in the 2011 ASEAN Schools Games where they outclassed our neighbors for the crown.

Last year, Tolentino donned the Red, White, and Blue in the FIBA World 3×3 Championships in Jakarta, Indonesia along with Ravena, La Salle Greenhills’ Prince Rivero and Kobe Paras.

“It has been a roller-coaster ride with the Red Cubs. I’ve been there for five years. I’m proud to be a Bedan.”

Cohesion not a problem

Asked about adjustments, Ravena and Tolentino believe there will be not much problems since they’ve been together numerous times for Team Philippines.

“We already know each other’s games. For example, I just blink my eye and we already know what to do,” Ravena said, who is a U-16 national team member along with Tolentino back in 2011. 

“Hopefully, we can translate it to the 5 on 5.”

Tolentino, the NCAA juniors Finals MVP, meanwhile says having Ravena as a teammate instead of a competitor in the collegiate wars will definitely be a plus.

“Thirdy has always been great; he’s a good passer, shooter, defender,” said the Angono, Rizal native.

In a matter of time, the two will be joining the Blue Eagles for several summer camps armed with the sole vision of turning their Season 76 defeat into a Season 77 triumph. – Rappler.com

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