UAAP Finals: Ateneo's Thirdy Ravena: 'Hindi biro ang UP'
Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Dec 01, 2018 08:57 PM
Thirdy Ravena and Ateneo have been proven right in not taking UP lightly
Ateneo de Manila University scored a convincing victory versus the University of the Philippines to seize a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three Finals in the UAAP 81 Men’s Basketball Tournament.
Even with Matt Nieto dropping a career-best 27 points, Thirdy Ravena flirting with a triple-double, and their winning margin comfortably at nine, the Blue Eagles still had to acknowledge that the Fighting Maroons gave them all they could handle.
“Hindi biro ang UP. Nung nalaman naming sila yung kalaban, talagang sinabi namin na hindi joke ang UP ngayon,” Ravena said following their 88-79 win in Game 1 on Saturday. “They are a different team from the team we met nung elimination round.”
Head coach Tab Baldwin could only agree. “Tough game, tough game. I think the outcome was in doubt probably up until the last couple of minutes,” he shared.
He then continued, “They are much more determined, much more cohesive. They understand their personnel, they understand how to create shots much better, and they understand how to play for one another.”
Indeed, it took a 14-2 run late in the game for the defending champions to be able to put away State U.
That fight was exactly why, if Coach Tab is to be believed, Ateneo would have preferred not to face off with UP in the Finals. “Now I could say it – we really didn’t want them in the Finals,” he said.
He then continued, “But that’s what we got so that’s what we have to face.”
After Game 1, where for majority of the matchup, the Fighting Maroons were keeping close to the Blue Eagles, the former indeed proved to the latter that they wouldn’t be going away that easy. “I’m sure that’s what Coach Bo expects of them. I was very impressed with the way they played,” he said.
He then continued, referring to Game 2 in four days, “We can’t expect anything less on Wednesday from them. We have to expect a lot more from our defense on Wednesday.”
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