Ateneo’s former star player Thirdy Ravena has landed a historic deal to play professional basketball for the Japanese league with San-en NeoPhoenix, the first Asian import to be signed by the club.
Japan Times’ Kaz Nagatsuka first tweeted the good news on June 24, 2020, announcing the Blue Eagles’ pride flying out to Japan for the new season that starts in October.
“Sen-en NeoPhoenix has signed with Filipino phenom Thirdy Ravena. The guard is the first-ever player to compete in the B. League using its Asian roster spot rule. The player’s got some flashy moves and this is good for the league,” posted Nagatsuka on Twitter.
Thirdy Ravena made Philippine collegiate basketball history as the first player to win three Finals MVP awards in the Final Four era of the Men’s Basketball Championship at the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP), including one fought for Ateneo Blue Eagles against the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons.
Since his graduation from the Ateneo de Manila University in 2019, Ravena has played for the Philippine national basketball team, Gilas Pilipinas. He was instrumental in the national team’s trouncing of Indonesia during the FIBA Asia Cup 2021 Qualifiers held in February.
Following the Ravena signing with the Japan B. League, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) released a statement affirming that the homegrown star player is willing to continue playing for the national team.
“Thirdy has always expressed his willingness to play for the Philippines and he reiterated his commitment in playing for Gilas Pilipinas in a short conversation we had earlier,” SBP president Al Panlilio said.
Panlilio welcomed Ravena’s signing up with the Japanese league, saying the experience will benefit Gilas Pilipinas.
“This is his chance to grow as a basketball player and everything that he learns in Japan will be beneficial for Gilas as well. We are confident he will represent the Philippines well with his talent and sportsmanship,” Panlilio added.
Thirdy Ravena is scheduled to leave for Japan by the first week of July.
SEND CONGRATULATIONS in the comments below to Thirdy Ravena for going international with the Japanese basketball league!
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