Dani Ravena makes immediate impact in UAAP debut for Ateneo
MANILA, Philippines – "Oy! napagod ka? (Hey! You're tired?)," said the Ravena brothers Kiefer and Thirdy after seeing their sister Dani Ravena hoard another incredible amount of food onto her plate after the Lady Eagles' opening game against the Far Eastern University (FEU) Lady Tamaraws last Sunday, February 4.
The youngest Ravena did not set foot at all during the FEU game as only starting libero Ria Lo, Vanessa Baguiwet and Sydney Eleazar were called by Coach Tai to help with the floor defense.
With the absence of Baguiwet due to the UAAP track and field competition, Ravena finally got the call from Coach Tai to make her UAAP debut as one of the 4 liberos of the Lady Eagles in the game against the National University (NU) Lady Bulldogs.
Despite the team being stacked in the libero position, Ravena stole the spotlight in her debut game as she made a team-high of 10-of-21 excellent receptions and 9-of-17 excellent digs. The rookie's defensive heroics during the 3rd and 4th sets allowed the Lady Eagles to regain their confidence where they rallied back from a 2-set deficit against NU.
"Siyempre may konting kaba nung pinasok ako pero the whole game naman sinabi naman niya [Coach Tai] na 'Be ready, be ready.' So you know, in my mind, inisip ko na lang yung goal ko [to perform well]," said Dani about her UAAP debut.
(Of course, I was a bit nervous when they put me in but the whole game, Coach Tai just kept on saying 'Be ready, be ready.' So you know in my mind, I'm thinking that this is my only goal [to perform well].
Ravena knows that she still has more to learn in playing high-level collegiate games like the UAAP. Playing in the deciding set from start to finish was nerve-wracking for the young libero. Her emotions got the best of her that led her to committing 5 straight errors as well as surrendering to Jasmine Nabor's 3 unanswered service aces.
"Siguro yun, yung 5th set talaga medyo kinabahan ako and got the best of me. Pero yun, I guess, it's an experience rin. Sabi rin ni coach Tai na parang stay confident ka. No matter what na kahit magkamali ka, forget about it and focus on the next one," said Ravena.
(I guess that 5th set really made me nervous and got the best of me. But I guess it's also an experience. Coach Tai also told me to stay confident. No matter what, even though I made mistakes, forget about it and focus on the next one.)
Ravena has the rest of the season and 4 more years to adjust from being a setter to her new role as a libero of the team. She is still in the process of realizing her dream that she is now an Ateneo Lady Eagle and will continue to improve on herself for the sake of the team.
"To be part of the team is an honor and to wear the jersey of Ateneo has been like my dream of mine ever since," said Ravena. "I feel na parang okay I have this role. No matter how small the role is, parang iniisip ko na as long as it helps the team, gagawin ko." (I feel that like okay, I have this role. No matter how small the role is, I think of it like as long as it helps the team, I'd do it.) – Rappler.com