FOR Dani Ravena, it felt like an end of an era as for the first time in more than a decade, there won't be any Ravenas playing in the UAAP come the next season.
Dani Ravena on Ateneo swan song
"Ewan ko. Baka sa ibang tao, masaya na sila na finally kasi ang tagal na may Ravena sa UAAP," said the Ateneo libero as she played her final match for the Blue Eagles.
It's a dawn of a new day as the children of basketball star Bong and volleyball standout Mozzy will no longer be in Katipunan come Season 85.
Kiefer first played for the Blue Eagles' men's basketball team in 2011, while Thirdy followed suit in 2015. Dani soon wore the familiar blue-and-whites, albeit for the women's volleyball team, in 2018.
Compared to her siblings, though, Dani has been the relentless subject of tough criticisms from the moment she made the leap to the seniors team -- all the more this UAAP Season 84 when she was named as the team captain.
"Ang daming nagsasabi, ang daming issues when it comes to me especially and coach O [Almadro]," she said.
But to the 22-year-old, these humps along the journey just makes her collegiate career all the more memorable.
"Alam namin yan, but it makes the journey sweeter. Despite everything na sinabi nila, alam naman natin yung totoo and trinabaho naman namin lahat yun, trinabaho ng bawat isa," she said, while also giving a toast to the unwavering faith that coach Oliver Almadro gave her and her teammates.
"Si Coach O, di niya rin naman kami sinukuan. It's nice to see that the girls right now, despite being young, sobrang laban talaga and fighting. I'm just proud of the team, proud of where we ended."
Almadro, for his part, is just proud of how Ravena has held herself for the duration of her stay in Ateneo, saying, "I've been telling this to my team, to everybody, that I never doubted Dani."
"People may doubt Dani with me and people may doubt us together, pero pinag-usapan naming dalawa na trabaho lang. Work on kung anong meron ka, trabahuhin mo lang yan, and indeed, the latter part of the season she's doing well," the coach said. "Ang hindi kasi nakikita ng mga tao is what Dani is doing outside the court. She's really leading the team and kumbaga, parang nasa-sacrifice niya na yung skills niya just to lead the team."
Almadro's glee is all the more rooted with how Ravena has lived up to her responsibilities as the team captain, leading the squad even after two years of inactivity.
"Many people don't know that before the pandemic talaga, Dani led us," shared the mentor. "Siya ang nagbuo ng team and talagang tinulungan niya yung team na mabuo. I really commend Dani for what she did this season and I'm happy for her. Congratulations to Dani na dinala mo kami dito."
Ravena may be leaving the Blue Eagles' nest, but she remains confident that the team that she's departing is still primed for a bright future with leaders like Faith Nisperos, Vanie Gandler, AC Miner, Joan Narit, and Roma Mae Doromal still in tow for the next campaign.
"Nakakalimutan yata ng mga tao na super konti lang yung naka-experience ng championship namin noong Season 81, and then naputol pa yung Season 82 which I think Faith had like two games lang of experience," she said. "Nakita naman natin how she is now, parang ang tagal-tagal na niya sa team. So yung mga ganoong maliliit na bagay, not just with Faith but we see so much talent with sila AC, sila Joan, and sila Roma, of course."
"I'm just very proud because this journey this UAAP season, lagi naming sinasabi na ibang klase. Kasi ang dami naming pinagdaanan together as individuals and as a team. Parang sabi na lang namin, kung saan man dadalhin tayo, basta lumaban hanggang dulo and it's all gonna be worth it. So nakita naman and I hope na people will still believe in us despite the loss this season."
Ravena ended: "Learning experience, especially ngayon sa mga bata. So definitely talaga, it will be something na magpu-push sa amin and also sa kanila to do better in the following seasons."
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