Daunting challenge attracts Thirdy Ravena to Japanese BLeague

thirdy ravena japan

Thirdy Ravena and San-en Neophoenix executives during an online press conference on Friday. SCREENGRAB FROM BLEAGUE FACEBOOK

MANILA, Philippines—After a successful college stint,  Thirdy Ravena was eager to take on new challenges in his career—and what better way to get that than by playing overseas.

So the three-time UAAP champion with Ateneo decided to bring his chops to Japan and join San-en Neophoenix in the BLeague to become the first Filipino to play in the country’s top flight league.

Ravena, though, admitted that it wasn’t the easiest of decisions he made in his career.

“I was nervous, and I had anxiety when I was thinking about it,” said Ravena in an online press conference Friday. “But overall, I realized the only reason I’m here is because I love challenges and I love competition.”

“I love to be always outside my comfort zone. It’s something that I want to do.”

B.League allows teams to have three foreign players in its roster and have a maximum of two of them together on the floor. Naturalized athletes, meanwhile, are considered Japanese.

That ruling also became also played a factor in Ravena’s decision as he views it as another daunting challenge he can face.

“Two imports in the game so it’s going to be way tougher definitely. I’m expecting Japanese basketball to be very exciting,” said Ravena who has represented the Philippines in several international competitions. “I’m really excited just because the league attracts a lot of big-name imports outside the NBA. I can’t wait to compete against former NBA players.”

“In terms of basketball, Japanese basketball really has, number one, speed. They pass the ball more than they dribble which is why the ball travels faster. Definitely a lot of shooters, very deadly when it comes to making threes. I’ve seen that in the league.”

Former NBA players Brian Cook, Jack Cooley, Jeff Ayres had stints in the B.League while Josh Childress and Cartier Martin suited up for the NeoPhoenix.

Ravena is also keen on helping NeoPhoenix improve from its 5-36 record during the 2019-20 season which was cut short due to COVID-19.

“I definitely want to help them out and make sure to have a better record next season. They have great people in the organization,” said Ravena. I can’t wait to play. I don’t want to say any promises. I just want to show what you are as an organization.”

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