MANILA, Philippines—He entered the UAAP in the shadows of his celebrated older brother.
Now, Thirdy Ravena leaves the UAAP as his own man, having established himself as one of the best players in the collegiate level, a three-time champion, and a three-time finals Most Valuable Player.
Ravena earned finals MVP honors in Season 82 after powering the Blue Eagles to a perfect 16-0 campaign, capped by a sweep of the University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers in the championship series.
He set the tone for the Blue Eagles with a 32-point explosion in their 91-77 rout in Game 1, before putting up an all-around line of 17 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 assists in their title clinching 86-79 win in Game 2.
He averaged 24.5 points per game in the two-game series, making 55% of his field goals, along with 6.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game.
For Ravena, all of his efforts were for the Ateneo community who supported him, even during the low points of his career.
"Ang sarap ng feeling na naglalaro ka para sa community na talagang sinuportahan ka ever since Day 1," said Ravena, who missed UAAP Season 78 for academic reasons before returning with a vengeance in Season 79.
"I think that's the best feeling for me, it's not even about accomplishing anything. We won the finals, pero para sa community 'yun," he added.
"It's the best feeling knowing na in my head, I know that people are happy, that we won, and I know na that's the best thing we can do for all their love and support for us."
Ravena, who spread his arms wide after the buzzer and soaked in the applause from the Ateneo crowd, said afterward that he believes he has already escaped the shadow of his older brother, Kiefer, who starred for Ateneo from Season 74 to 78, twice winning MVP honors.
"I took myself out of my brother's shadow, not just this year but ever since coach Tab (Baldwin) came in," the younger Ravena said.
"He already talked to me, and he told me that the biggest pressure shouldn't be you're trying to be like your brother or your dad. The biggest pressure should be coming from yourself and trying to be the best player you can possibly be.
"With that, I think I've effectively removed myself from my brother's shadow, and focused on how I could be the best player I could possibly be, not just for myself but for my teammates."
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