MANILA, Philippines – Thirdy Ravena has gained plenty of praise for his remarkable performance in Game 2 of the UAAP Season 81 Finals last week, wherein he simply dominated the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons.
The Ateneo forward put up 38 points on 13-of-18 shooting, while adding six rebounds and six assists along with three steals. The only blemish to his performance were his five turnovers; nevertheless, he was a plus-19 in 33 minutes of action.
Ravena scored 18 of his 38 points in the fourth quarter, as Ateneo crushed UP, 99-81, to clinch a second straight men's basketball championship. He would be named Finals MVP, the second straight year that he got the award.
His spectacular game – which included a two-handed dunk in the final minute to ice the win – was applauded by Ateneo head coach Tab Baldwin.
"I think we saw Thirdy mature," Baldwin said in an interview on "The Score," regarding Ravena's performance.
"I think we saw a lot of work that's been done with him, and a tremendous amount of work that he's done on his own, all come together," he added.
More impressive than Ravena's raw numbers in Game 2 was his efficiency, according to Baldwin. After shooting just 28.3 percent from beyond the arc in the elimination round, Ravena made 5 of his 7 triples in Game 2, including all 3 attempts in the fourth quarter.
He was also 7-of-7 from the free throw line, as UP's defense had no answer for his every move.
"The efficiency, and for him to recognize opportunities in the game, for him to be a calming influence, for him to make shots when UP was making runs," said Baldwin.
"These were things that we haven't seen enough from Thirdy, and to see it in that moment means that the moment wasn't bigger than him," he added. "I think, when you see that with a very, very talented player, now you start to realize the maturity is taking root."
Ravena wound up averaging 29.5 points, 8.0 rebounds, 7.5 assists, and 2.0 steals in the two-game Finals series.
The forward intends to return for his final playing year in Season 82, and Baldwin believes his masterful performance in Game 2 is only a sign of what's to come.
"I think it bodes well for Ateneo, and it bodes well for Thirdy's future," he said.
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