In team-first system, Thirdy still on top
MANILA, Philippines – Despite the absolute masterclass performance that he displayed in his team's biggest game of the season, Ateneo star Thirdy Ravena still shunned all credit.
The championship series hero, instead, opted to pay tribute to everyone around him, and even the opponents he just went against.
“Unang-una gusto ko lang po magpasalamat sa entire Ateneo community. Hindi ko ma-describe 'yung feeling ko ngayon,” said Ravena. “Pero lahat binigay namin lahat para sa isa't isa.”
(First of all, I just want to thank the entire Ateneo community. I can’t describe what I’m feeling right now. But we gave it all for one another.)
“And UP, of course,” he continued. “Coming into the game, we knew that they wouldn’t want to lose. They've come so far so we know that they won’t just give up. So props to the entire UP community, especially for making history this year. Sending all my love to coach Bo [Perasol]. I’m really proud of him, he was my former coach.”
The 22-year-old star unloaded everything he had against the Maroons’ defenses, finishing with a new career-high 38 points on a stellar 13-of-18 (72%) shooting clip and 5-of-8 (71%) from downtown plus 6 rebounds, 6 assists and 3 steals in the Blue Eagles' Game 2 blasting of their Katipunan neighbors, the UP Fighting Maroons, 99-81, for back-to-back UAAP crowns.
In the series opener, Ravena also flirted with a triple-double of 21 points, 10 rebounds, and 9 assists to power the Blue Eagles to an 88-79 triumph.
But again, Ravena just deflected the glory to his teammates, who made the job easier for him.
"Well my mission was to give everything that I got. I didn't expect to score, it just came na pumapasok 'yung binibigay sa akin ng teammates ko," said Ravena, the Finals MVP who averaged 29.5 points, 8.0 rebounds, 7.5 assists, 2.5 steals, and 1.0 block in the series.
"If it wasn't for Matt [Nieto's floor leadership], 'yung mga pasa sa akin di magiging posible yun. I just wanna thank all of my teammates for making this dream come true not just for me but for each and every one of us."
(Well my mission was to give everything that I got. I didn't expect to score, it just happened that a lot of the feeds from my teammates went in. If it wasn't for Matt Nieto's floor leadership, their passes to me wouldn’t go through. I just wanna thank all of my teammates for making this dream come true not just for me but for each and every one of us.”
Ravena has one more playing year before he leads a mass exodus of seniors that include Isaac Go, Aaron Black and the Nieto twins Mike and Matt.
So clearly, he would want to go out on a high note with a rare title three-peat.
“We'll have to figure that out but as of now we're gonna enjoy and cherish every single moment of our championship,” said Ravena. “Probably about next week or next next week, our mindset will be there.”
“UP is not the only strong team, there are a lot of teams who would improve from this year so we can only work harder,” he continued. “We can see that hard work works, so why would you change that? So keep working hard.” – Rappler.com