THE scoreline might say otherwise, but it was an entirely tough win for Ateneo if Thirdy Ravena is to be asked.
They might be going through to the UAAP Season 81 Finals following an 80-61 win, but Ravena insisted getting there wasn’t as easy as it looked.
The Tamaraws never gave them an inch, he said.
“FEU didn’t make it easy for us. Nagmukhang madali dahil yung lamang ganun, pero every possession, binibigay talaga nila lahat,” said Ravena after finishing with 22 points, seven rebounds and four assists in the win.
Looking at it from the perspective of physicality, one can’t argue with Ravena.
The game was heated from the get-go, with Ravena being involved in several physical plays against FEU defenders, with the most glaring one against Alec Stockton.
With 7:12 remaining in the third period, Stockton caught Ravena with a elbow while trying to stop an Ateneo fastbreak, prompting the referees to hit him with a disqualifying foul.
Ravena, however, was quick to brush it off.
“Di naman masyado pisikal yung laro ah, kaunti lang,” said Ravena when asked about the physicality.
“Basketball, ganun talaga, I know they’re competitors, they’ll do whatever it takes to take an advantage, especially if twice-to-beat [kami], pipikunin ka, sasaktan ka. But at the end of the day, you just have to do what you have to do,” he added.
That’s exactly what the Ateneo coaches expected from them when put in such situation.
“We want to see the players elevate their game when they get hit instead of hitting back,” said Ateneo assistant Sandy Arespacochaga.
“Thirdy played great. He was on Arvin [Tolentino] and his defense was great. It motivated him to play harder. It's that approach that we want our players to have and not get distracted by the pain they are in,” he added.
For Ravena, he’d rather use his energy doing things that could help the team and that’s exactly what he did as he responded with a three-pointer in the next possession.
“Kahit naman ano gawin nila, the game goes on. Pag napikon ako sa kanya or nasa utak ko gumanti, nasasayang yung energy. Yung negative energy, walang mapupuntahan e,” said Ravena.
“I just stick with what I have to do, lahat kami kailangan namin yung isa’t isa sa court, I can’t let that affect me. I did that for my teammates and for the team of course.”