MANILA, Philippines -- It took five games, but Ateneo rookie Thirdy Ravena was finally able to score the first basket of his UAAP seniors career during the Blue Eagles' game against the Far Eastern University (FEU) Tamaraws last Sunday.
The younger Ravena has had a shaky start to his seniors career after being one of the most hotly recruited high school players in the country. He failed to score in Ateneo's first three games of the season and wasn't even fielded in during their loss to National University last week.
Ravena finally had his breakthrough in the second quarter of yesterday's game, scoring off a lay-up at the 8:34 mark that tied the game at 18-all. Ateneo would go on to win the heart-stopping contest, 81-78; Ravena finished with four points and five rebounds in over 13 minutes of action.
"Inisip ko na, 'Thank you Lord, naka-shoot na rin ako after four games.' Yun lang, talagang masaya lang ako," said Ravena, who got a pat on the back from older brother Kiefer after his field goal.
"Hindi ko muna inisip 'yung basket na 'yun. Inisip ko kaagad ay 'yung next play, kasi hindi naman matatapos doon kapag naka-shoot ako. Kailangan kong bumalik sa other side ng floor," he added.
Ravena admitted that nerves played a factor in his poor performances in other games, even though his older brother has been consistently helping him calm down and focus.
Against FEU, however, Ravena finally found his center and was able to contribute.
"Nalaro ko na 'yung game ko. Hindi na ako kinakabahan," said Ravena, who won an MVP trophy with the Ateneo Blue Eaglets in high school.
"Kasi before, I would always play na talagang ratrat, na hindi ko alam kung ano 'yung ginahawa ko sa loob ng court. Pero ngayon, at least, kahit papaano naka-slow down ako. Iniisip ko talaga kung ano 'yung nangyayari sa loob," he explained.
Ravena's performance against the Tamaraws earned him praise from Ateneo coach Bo Perasol and his brother as well.
"Honorable mention goes to Thirdy and (reserve forward) Gwyne Capacio," said Perasol. "They were able to contribute when we needed it most, the energy, and also, some production from Thirdy."
"I'm very happy for him as a brother, siyempre," said Kiefer, who scored 23 points to go along with seven assists in the victory.
The younger Ravena had given credit to his older brother for helping him overcome his nerves and jitters coming into the contest.
"Tinutulungan ako ng brother ko, sinasabi niya sa akin palagi na 'Focus, just stay in the game,'" said Ravena. "'Isipin mo kung ano ang nangyayari, and saka ka mag-react.' Kasi nga, 'yung previous performances ko, talagang kung ano lang ang magawa ko."