Thirdy Ravena was absolutely unstoppable in the UAAP Season 81 championship series.
Ravena earned his second straight Finals MVP plum after steering the Blue Eagles to a title sweep with averages of 29.5 points, 8.0 rebounds, 7.5 assists, and 2.5 steals.
The veteran forward exploded for a career-high 38 points on 13-for-18 shooting in the clincher against the UP Fighting Maroons on Wednesday, while also tallying six rebounds, six assists, and three steals. This marks the league's highest scoring output in the finals since 2003.
"My mission was to give everything that I got," said Ravena. "I didn't expect to score, it just came. The shots that my teammates were giving me were falling. If it wasn't for Matt [Nieto] and their passes to me, it's not going to be possible."
Ravena dropped 18 points in the fourth quarter alone, including three triples and a two-handed jam that punctuated his stellar outing.
"There was just a stretch in the game that they suddenly did zone [defense] then they're giving the 3-points, and I was lucky that my 3-point shots were falling," he said.
Ateneo coach Tab Baldwin revealed post-match that designing more individual plays, particularly for Ravena, was an integral part of the adjustments that the Blue Eagles made heading into Game 2.
"I just think Thirdy had one of those games, a real special game," said Baldwin. "Ball's falling, he made great shots, he made great decisions, and he proved today what a special player he can be."
"Congratulations to him, I think his awards are well-earned," the American-Kiwi coach continued. "But I know Thirdy well and I know that his joy right now is for the championship, for the team, and it's one of the things that makes him and every other guy in the team special."
The 22-year-old Ravena insisted that he just delivered what the coaches and the whole team expected him to do.
"What's important was for us to do our own jobs individually and collectively as a team," he said. "I have to set up my teammates, create shots for them, and if I'm open, just shoot the ball. Just like what everyone else does, I'm just doing my role."
After incredible back-to-back seasons, Ravena still has another year to gun for a third straight championship.
"I just want to thank the entire Ateneo community. I can't describe my feeling today. We gave everything for each other," he said. "I want to thank all of my teammates for making this dream come true not just for me but for each and every one of us."