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The Third Coming: Another Ravena is ready for prime time

By Anton Roxas Posted Sep 24th 2013

Thirdy Ravena is stepping out of the shadows of his father and older brother to make a name for his himself in the UAAP juniors basketball tournament.

He strides mightily up and down the basketball court while making his presence felt on every play. Like a panther in the jungle, he strikes fear on his opponents and makes them think twice when attempting their shots. On offense, he is a nightmare. Whether it’s a pull-up jumper off a killer crossover or a fall-away from the post, the result is usually the same: An easy two points. This 6 foot 2 assassin is also a leader, constantly on the ears of his teammates and setting them up for wide open baskets. He does all of that, dressed in his blue and white #15 jersey for Ateneo.

And, his name is not Kiefer.

Ferdinand Crisologo Ravena III, who goes by his nickname, “Thirdy” is a happy-go-lucky 4th year high school student with big dreams. He is the second born son of  former PBA star, Bong Ravena and former UAAP Women’s Volleyball champion, Mozzy Ravena. Thirdy is also a caring brother to his younger sister, Dani, who is in her first year of high school and plays volleyball for Miriam College in the WNCAA. Of course, he is the younger brother of popular basketball phenom, Kiefer. Armed with an excellent sports pedigree at the tender age of 16, Thirdy definitely has an exciting road ahead of him with promising rewards.

However, a couple of years ago, the future didn’t seem all that bright for this budding young talent.

Thirdy made his first varsity team in the fourth grade while attending La Salle Greenhills. But, according to him, he wasn’t all that dedicated to the sport. In fact, he recalls just being a part of the team and not playing that many minutes. He transferred to Ateneo the following year and by his second year of high school at the Loyola Heights based campus, Thirdy made it to the UAAP Juniors basketball line-up.

During his first season as a member of the Ateneo Blue Eaglets, Thirdy’s name rarely got called to come off the bench as he watched his team struggle to a 9-5 record and get dethroned in the Final Four by a loaded FEU Baby Tamaraws squad that was spearheaded by Jerie Pingoy. It was during that helpless moment that a burning desire for success came to life deep inside Thirdy’s heart.

“Naisip ko, ‘I’ve got to step up.’ Gusto ko na mag-basketball. Gusto ko na patunayan na hindi lang ako yung parang, ‘O, kapatid siya ni Kiefer Ravena. Magaling yan.’ I wanted to prove to everybody na kaya ko rin naman talaga.”

With a newfound dedication to the sport, Thirdy made it his personal mission to become a different player that would make an impact for the team. During the summer leading up to UAAP Season 75, he would spend almost nine hours a day playing basketball. Thirdy would wake up at six in the morning to play pick-up games in his village before heading to Ateneo for conditioning and practice with the Blue Eaglets. It was a rigorous process but one that bore fruit as Thirdy experienced a breakout year that caught the eyes of several college scouts.

Although Ateneo would once again be eliminated by FEU in the Final Four, Thirdy made it to the Mythical Team and finished second in the MVP race to Pingoy.

“Sinipagan ko talaga. Then, for the next season, gusto ko pa rin sipagan. Gusto ko pa rin mas magaling ako than last year.”

From averaging 15.2 points per game, a league best 10.9 rebounds per game, 4.9 assists and 1.1 blocks per outing in his Junior year, Thirdy has continued to put up monster numbers this season. Playing in his final year as a member of the Ateneo Blue Eaglets, Thirdy’s 18.7 PPG, 11.2 RPG, 4.3 APG and 0.8 BPG has earned him the honor of being named as the Most Valuable Player for the UAAP Season 76 Juniors basketball tournament.

“It feels very humbling to be called MVP of the season, pero nothing can beat the feeling of winning a championship and getting and achievement won by a team. Yun talaga yung pinaka-magandang feeling. Two years ko nang gusto maging UAAP Juniors Champion.”

After leading the Blue Eaglets to an 11-3 record in the elimination round, the team has finally exorcised its old demons by dethroning FEU, 69-64 in their stepladder semifinals match. Ateneo is finally back in the UAAP Juniors basketball Finals for the first time since 2010 and will face a powerful NU Bulldogs team that owns a thrice-to-beat advantage after sweeping the elimination round.

Despite the odds, Thirdy feels that they have a good chance of overcoming the challenge.

“The last championship we won as a team happened in the summer at the FCBL (Filipino-Chinese Basketball League). We won against NU and their exact same lineup. We’re hopeful. We’ll take it one game at a time and give 100% each game.”

But, before he and the Blue Eaglets face off with NU in the Finals which is scheduled to take place on October 6, Thirdy will join forces with fellow high school stars, Arvin Tolentino (San Beda), Kobe Paras (LSGH) and Prince Rivero (LSGH) to represent the country in the FIBA World 3x3 Under-18 Basketball Championship in Jakarta, Indonesia.

“It feels really good na kakampi mo yung buong Pilipinas na sama-sama kayo. It’s a great feeling.”

As Thirdy basks in the shower of blessings that is currently pouring down on him, he can’t help but credit his family for supporting him all throughout his journey.

“Sobrang mahal ko yung family ko. Sinabi lang nila sa akin, ‘Sipag’. Yun lang talaga yung mag-aangat sa akin sa career ko. And hopefully, pag nakapunta ako after college sa PBA or something, sipag pa rin. Kailangan talaga kung gusto mo gumaling, kailangan masipag ka.”

“It’s all about the one who works hardest. Kung iniisip mo na nag-eextra work ka, isipin mo rin na may isang tao diyan doing the same thing as what you’re doing.”

As of this writing, Thirdy Ravena has not yet decided as to which college he will attend but has cited Management Economics and Communication Technology Management as possible courses that he would like to take up. He feels that he will be playing the 3 position in college but is willing to take on any role the coach will assign to him. If he didn’t play basketball, Thirdy still envisions himself being close to the game but as a basketball analyst or host on television. Off the court, he is known as a jokester who loves to have fun.

“I’m super relaxed. Mahilig lang ako tumawa.”

Basketball fans, make some room because there’s a new Ravena in town and he is set for take-off.