DRAWING inspiration from her family and motivated by a desire to give her seniors a fitting exit, Dani Ravena rose to the occasion as Ateneo sent the UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball finals to a deciding Game Three.
Ravena led a tough defensive stand with 22 digs and 12 excellent receptions as Ateneo lived to fight another day with a vengeful 26-24, 14-25, 25-21, 25-15 victory over University of Santo Tomas at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
Her main motivation?
The libero didn’t want to let her graduating teammates Bea De Leon, Maddie Madayag and Kim Gequillana down.
“How can you say no to the rest of the seniors?”Ravena said. “Gusto pa nila mag-training. I really want them to have a goodbye na wala kaming regrets.”
Ravena delivered when it mattered, nailing a dig that put Ateneo at match point, 24-13, before UST rookie KC Galdones committed that crucial service error that set the stage for a rubber match on Saturday.
Graduating co-captains De Leon and Madayag were understandably proud after seeing Ravena play with nerves of steel in a must-win game for Ateneo.
“She worked for it. I always tell her, 'Dan, you've earned my respect.' Today's a big day for her and I hope it keeps coming,” said De Leon.
Madayag, who led the charge for Ateneo with 17 points, said she never had any doubt that their young libero has what it takes to be a leader on the court.
“Definitely, we're proud na 'yung bata. Kailangan namin, maingay, nagli-lead sa loob. Not just us leaders, everybody has to do their job,” Madayag added.
Dani’s strength came from her parents Bong and Mozzy and brothers Kiefer and Thirdy.
“Last night my mom called. This morning, Thirdy. When I got here, Kiefer naman. I guess, they’ve been here for so many years,” the youngest Ravena said.
“They know how it feels like to win and lose. I think that’s a blessing for me na they share their passion. That helps me, knowing that there's so many people behind you.”