End of an era for Ravenas in collegiate scene as Dani exits Ateneo

The Ravenas have finally called it quits, at least in the collegiate scene, as outgoing Ateneo captain-libero Dani Ravena exhausted her last playing year with a first runner-up finish in the UAAP Season 84 women's volleyball tournament.

Outgoing Ateneo captain-libero Dani Ravena (right) and head coach Oliver Almadro (UAAP Media Bureau)

Dani, the younger sister of basketball stars Kiefer and Thirdy and the daughter of Filipino sporting greats Bong and Mozzie, was the last of the Ravenas to exit the Blue Eagles' lair and the UAAP.

READ: La Salle sweeps rival Ateneo, sets up Finals showdown with NU

She was part of the Ateneo champion squad that defeated University of Santo Tomas to win the Season 81 crown.

Kiefer, a two-time league Most Valuable Player, brought home two UAAP titles in Katipunan in 2011 and 2012 while Thirdy, who won three straight Finals MVP honors, led the Eagles to three championships from 2017 to 2019.

"It makes the journey sweeter," said Dani. "Despite everything na sinabi nila alam namin 'yong totoo and trinabaho naman namin lahat 'yon and trinabaho ng bawat isa. Si coach O, 'di niya rin naman kami sinukuan.

"'Di rin naman namin sinukuan 'yong team namin, 'yong mga bago. It's nice to see that the girls right now, despite being young, sobrang laban talaga and fight. I'm just proud of the team, proud of where we ended. But for sure, we're still hungry for more talaga," added the youngest Ravena.

READ: Almadro proud of Ateneo despite falling short of Cinderella run

Dani also expressed her gratitude to no less than Almadro, who is famously known for her iconic "Walang duwag na Ravena" pep talk back in 2018 during the PVL Open Conference.

The 22-year-old Ravena, still, ended her collegiate campaign with a podium finish and can finally heave a sigh of relief thanks to the unending support system from Almadro and the Eagles.

"Honestly, ang sarap sa pakiramdam kasi when you're right beside coach O and he tells you na proud siya as team, for me eight now, wala, okay na kami doon," added the Ateneo captain.

Almadro, for his part, has some spare words to say to those who had raised eyebrows at Dani's prowess.

"I've been telling this to my team, to everybody, that I never doubted Dani. People may doubt Dani with me, people may doubt us together," said the four-time UAAP champion coach. "Pinag-usapan na namin dalawa na trabaho lang. Work kung ano meron, trabahuhin mo lang yan. Talagang pinag-usapan namin ni Dani 'yan and indeed, in the latter part of the season, she's doing well."

Almadro, who also steered Ateneo's men's volleyball squad to three titles, added that Dani has been instrumental in keeping the Eagles' core on and off the court.

Tipping his hats off for the last time, Almadro is just beyond grateful and happy to have Dani on his team.

"Bonus na sa'min 'tong (bronze) medal but being in the Final Four, we're already happy because of Dani."