UAAP 81 Women's Volleyball: Always-ready Dani Ravena steps up in Ateneo's comeback win over UST
Santino Honasan on Mar 20, 2019 09:22 PM
"Coach O always puts emphasis on the bench, especially being ready, any time you can get called. Coming into training, coming into practice pa lang, you know na youíre gonna play," - Dani Ravena
Ateneo de Manila University's six-game winning streak in the UAAP Season 81 Women's Volleyball Tournament nearly came to an end on Wednesday afternoon at the hands of a game University of Santo Tomas side.
The league-leading Lady Eagles went down to a two-set hole, only to win the next three and extend their winning streak to seven straight matches.
Maddie Madayag came up big with a career-high 23 points and a record-breaking 11 kill blocks, while Kat Tolentino added 20 points of her own.
While Madayag and Tolentino were definitely at the forefront of Ateneo's comeback, the Lady Eagles' reserves also came up big, and head coach Oliver Almadro pinpointed sophomore libero Dani Ravena as one of the sparks off the bench.
The seldom-used Ravena replaced Kim Gequillana in the second set and went on to finish the match with a team-high 20 excellent digs, which ultimately became crucial in the Lady Eagles' gritty comeback win.
For Ravena, an always-ready mindset was key as she was able to provide some much-needed help off the bench.
"Coach O always puts emphasis on the bench, especially being ready, any time you can get called. Coming into training, coming into practice pa lang, you know na you’re gonna play," Ravena said.
Coming into the most important stretch of the season, Ravena added that reserves like herself need to be mentally ready to come in and contribute when called upon.
"Bawal relax, bawal petiks, kahit off the bench, kasi second round na. Everyone’s gonna pull off, all the coaches are gonna strategize, they’re gonna pull off people from the bench, so kami, if relaxed enough na kami and thinking na ‘Hindi naman kami papasok’, then we’re not helping the team, we’re not helping the team at all, parang nanonood lang kami."
Ravena credited Almadro as instrumental in making sure that the Lady Eagles are always ready to go out and perform to the best of their abilities.
"Coach challenges us not only physically, but yung mentality din namin as a player, which really helped, as in lumalabas sa team, kasi pag crucial games, lumalabas yung character namin na hindi kami mag-papabaya, hindi kami mag-lelet down. Each and every point, ipapag-laban namin."