A third Ravena has entered the pantheon of basketball greatness.
Following the footsteps of his legendary dad and superstar brother, Thirdy Ravena scored a whopping 38 points—the highest output in recent UAAP finals history—as the Ateneo de Manila Blue Eagles have successfully defended the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) men’s basketball crown, sweeping the Cinderella run of the University of the Philippines (UP), 99-81, Wednesday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Ravena’s career-high includes four triples in the fourth quarter, to break away from the Fighting Maroons by as high as 21 points, capping his magical burst with a fastbreak jam.
He was named Finals Most Valuable Player (MVP) for a second straight year, as he added six rebounds and six assists.
“My mission was to defend,” Ravena said after the game, reiterating his role as primary wing defender and playmaker, the way he played Game One. “But I was being given open shots, and I have to take it.”
The Blue Eagles took charge from the get-go, utilizing their size advantage by attacking the paint with impunity and crashing the boards with relative ease against the much smaller Fighting Maroons.
Unleashing a 10-0 run from the end of the first quarter to the start of the second quarter Ateneo erected a 28-13 lead and has never looked back since.
“We were able to identify their lapses in defense, and this game we had Thirdy scoring with that,” said Ateneo head coach Tab Baldwin.
Rookie of the year Ange Kouame bounced back from a lethargic game one, scoring 22 points, hauling 20 rebounds, and slammed four dunks, while Raffy Verano added 11 points.
Juan Gomez de Liano topscored for the Fighting Maroons with 24 points while season MVP Bright Akhuetie added 19 points.
Paul Desiderio, UP’s heart and soul, tallied 15 points, seven rebounds, three assists, two steals, and a block to end his stellar UAAP career, earning the distinction as the player who revived the long-time losing men’s basketball program of the state university.
“Masaya pa rin,” he said despite the loss. “Wala namang umaasang makakaabot kami sa finals pero nagawa namin. Masaya kasi dahil sa amin maraming naniniwalang kayang manalo ang natatalong team.”
Ateneo 99 – Ravena 38, Kouame 22, Verano 11, Tio 7, Ma. Nieto 6, Belonguel 6, Asistio 6, Go 3, Mi. Nieto 0, Mamuyac 0, Mendoza 0, Black 0, Andrade 0, Wong 0, Daves 0, Navarro 0
UP 81 – Ju. Gomez de Liano 24, Akhuetie 19, Desiderio 15, Ja. Gomez de Liano 11, Dario 8, Lim 2, Vito 2, Manzo 0, Jaboneta 0, Tungcab 0, Spencer 0, Prado 0, Murrell 0, Espanola 0, Longa 0
Quarter scores: 25-13, 48-37, 70-56, 99-91