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MANILA, Phillippines – Even with the Ateneo Blue Eagles standing on the cusp of history at UAAP Season 82, team star Thirdy Ravena is not about to let his guard down for anything.
Standing in their way towards an outright Finals berth are the UP Fighting Maroons, who are aiming to stop their 13-0 streak in men’s basketball on Wednesday, October 30, in the season’s second Battle of Katipunan at 4 pm at the Mall of Asia Arena. (LIVE UPDATES: Ateneo vs UP – UAAP Season 82 round 2)
If Ravena had his way, he’d seal the deal sooner rather than later, especially against the season’s undisputed kings in the clutch.
“Honestly, having a good start every game is what we want,” he said. “Against UP, you just have to make sure that you’ll never let your guard down whatever time of the game it is.”
“Most importantly, we need to trust one another especially in not being rattled at the start where just because it’s Ateneo-UP, we’re gonna think it’s bigger than a regular basketball game,” he continued. “We just make sure that we do our jobs and everything else will follow.”
As UP carved out its niche in winning in the clutch, the two-time defending champion Ateneo in turn mastered the art of overpowering the opposition from the get-go.
In their last two games, the Eagles have destroyed opponents with a combined winning margin of 70 points. Even the Maroons got an early taste of their deep arsenal after Ateneo cruised to a 26-point annihilation to end the first round.
Such dominance can be the Eagles’ downfall should they let their guards down, but Ravena is more than aware that they have no right to relax just yet.
“Business is not done. Just because we’re 13-0 doesn’t mean that we get to celebrate and be complacent,” he said. “It’s actually the biggest trap possible for us – to think that [a sweep] means something about the championship. So for us, 13-0 means it’s basically 13-0. It doesn’t mean anything else anything more than that.”
Although the reigning two-time Finals MVP admitted it’s difficult not to think about sweeping the season, he’s confident that his teammates know how to minimize the game’s context and just focus on the task at hand.
“We really look at what the people in the team look at, which is to leave a legacy to be the best team that we can possibly be,” he said. “I think winning just follows that and if we trust one another, we’ll just move on and we will be better. It’s gonna be good.” – Rappler.com