Even Thirdy Ravena was surprised by his scoring explosion which propelled the Ateneo Blue Eagles to the 81st University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) men’s basketball crown on Wednesday evening.
“My mission was to give everything that I can. I did not really expect to score,” said Ravena after he tallied a career-high 38 points for the Blue Eagles as they stopped the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons, 99-81, at the Araneta Coliseum.
This earned the Blue Eagles their second straight championship in the tournament.
Ateneo claimed its 10th crown overall after completing a two-game sweep of their best-of-three finals series.
“It (baskets) just came in. Pumapasok iyung binibigay sa akin ng mga
,” said Ravena.
Ravena finished with 21 points, 10 rebounds, nine assists, two steals, and two blocks in Game 1 when the Blue Eagles also beat the UP Fighting Maroons.
In Game 2, he came up with a career-high on 13-of-18 shooting. And his scoring output is considered the most in a finals game since 2003. For this Ravena gives credit to teammate Matt Nieto.
“If it wasn’t for Matt—yung mga pinapasa niya sa akin—hindi magiging
,” said Ravena.
Blue Eagles coach Tab Baldwin said Ravena had his time to shine after the Fighting Maroons focused their defense on him and their isolation plays.
“I think there were some strategies from UP that were fairly apparent. I think that’s why there was more individual plays from Thirdy, more isolation plays. But we understood there are certain things that they did not want us to get, and they were going to use help defense in some situations. So, we were able to identify some of that, and I think Thirdy did in those games,” said Baldwin.
The back-to-back honors that the Blue Eagles won in men’s basketball is their fifth championship of the UAAP season.
Earlier, Ateneo also won the titles in women’s badminton, men’s and women’s swimming, and women’s fencing.
This was the result of the intense preparation the Blue Eagles went through this year.
They went to Greece and Taiwan to prepare for this tournament, and have not lost a single game in their last 10 outings.
Thirdy, the younger brother of NLEX Road Warriors star Kiefer Ravena, along with fellow seniors the Nieto twins and Isaac Go, will be back for another season next year. They hope that a three-peat is possible.