MANILA, Philippines – Riding on a phenomenal Ateneo run, Thirdy Ravena ended one of the most decorated collegiate careers in recent memory.
Apart from going out on a high note by winning 3 straight UAAP championships with the new Ateneo Blue Eagles dynasty, the 6-foot-3 forward made those titles even more special with a trifecta of Finals MVP awards to his name.
Ravena now moves up as one of the most sought-after basketball prospects after an incredible run in the collegiate level. However, there was a time when he was just known either as Kiefer’s brother or Bong’s son.
Thirdy, the middle child of the athletically-gifted Ravena lineage, only had head coach Tab Baldwin to thank for pushing him out of his own family’s shadow.
“Ever since coach Tab came in, he talked to me. He told me that the biggest pressure shouldn't be trying to be like my brother or my dad, but coming from myself and be the best player I could possibly be,” he said after playing his last UAAP game on Wednesday, November 20.
“And with that, I think I effectively removed myself from my brother's shadow and focus on how I could be the best player I could possibly be, not just for myself but for my teammates.”
“For me, it's not even about accomplishments. It's about trying to work for something and not trying to be like someone. I'm just trying to be the best version of me.”
Although Ravena imbibed the value of taking pride in his own skills, he never went away or did too much of what Baldwin’s tried-and-tested system asked from him.
Still, he proved that when push comes to shove, he can turn into the best basketball player on the court at will, giving birth to his unofficial moniker “Finals Thirdy.”
But he insisted that it was never about him even as he averaged 24.5 points on a staggering 55% shooting clip on top of 6 rebounds and 4 assists during the two-game finals sweep of the UST Growling Tigers.
“For me what’s important is not the players, but the culture,” he said. “It’s about how we play, and we play for one another. As long as it’s there, it doesn’t matter.”
“We’ve been preaching next man up for the past 4 years, and I know whoever steps in our spot, we know they’ll do what they can for their teammates. I'm very optimistic about it.”
Now that he has to move on from the collegiate ranks, Ravena said that he’ll never forget the community that helped mold him into his own man. Not as Kiefer’s brother, not as Bong’s son, but as Thirdy Ravena.
“It feels great that you can play for a community who supported you since day one,” he said. “I think thats the best feeling for me. We’re just not the ones celebrating, but the entire school, all the alumni, and it’s the best feeling knowing in my head, people are happy that we won. That’s the best we could do for all the love and support for us.” – Rappler.com