MANILA, Philippines – Despite their lopsided win, the Ateneo Blue Eagles think they got a good test from the Far Eastern University Tamaraws in the UAAP Final Four.
For Ateneo star Thirdy Ravena, it was learning how to keep his cool in a physical game where the Blue Eagles rolled to their 3rd straight UAAP finals after a dominant 80-61 victory.
“You can’t let that moment of physicality, or that moment of whatever they do, to get in your head and affect your game because that’s a chain reaction – that if you get affected by it, then your play will be affected, in turn the team will be affected,” said Ravena, who got suspended for unsportsmanlike conduct mid-season.
In one stretch, Ravena got hit on the face by FEU guard Alec Stockton, who then got ejected at the 7:12 mark of the 3rd quarter.
The Ateneo stalwart, though, kept his poise this time and answered back in his own way – by draining an ice-cold 3-pointer right after the incident to double Ateneo’s lead, 48-24.
“The game goes on na hinayaan ko [and if] mapikon ako sa kanya or nasa utak ko lang gumanti, nasasayang lang ‘yung energy. Kumbaga ‘yung negative energy, walang mapupuntahan eh, so I just stick to what I have to do kasi lahat kami, kailangan namin ‘yung isa’t isa sa court,” said Ravena.
(The game goes on, I just let it go because if I’m just going to get ticked off, or think about retaliating, I’m just wasting energy. Negative energy won’t get you anywhere, so I’ll just stick to what I have to do because all of us need each other on the court.)
“I can’t let that affect me kasi alam ko kapag isang teammate ko ginanoon, hindi niya hahayaan na iisipin niya sarili niya at that moment. So I just had to do it for my teammates and for the team, of course.”
(I can’t let that affect me because I know that if a teammate gets into a situation like this, he wouldn’t think about himself at that moment. So I just had to do it for my teammates and for the team, of course.)
Right now, Ravena is just glad that the Blue Eagles managed to accomplish their mission: to dispose of the Tamaraws in just one game this time.
After getting dragged by the Tamaraws to do-or-die contests in the last two UAAP semifinals, the Blue Eagles targeted a quick and emphatic finish.
“It’s just the preparation and the fact na (that) we had to be more hungry because they say it’s harder to defend championships than to gain one,” said Ravena.
The winner of the do-or-die Final Four match – between No. 2 Adamson and the University of the Philippines on Wednesday, November 28, 3:30 pm at the Araneta Coliseum – will go up against the Blue Eagles in the best-of-3 title series.
“We just have to make sure we play like we’re defending champions,” said Ravena. – Rappler.com
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