Thirdy says trailblazing Japan B.League foray comes with responsibility

THE first homegrown player to play in the Japan B.League, Thirdy Ravena brims with pride, but also recognizes that it comes with responsibility and standards to live up to. — B.LEAGUE

THE first Filipino homegrown player to play in the Japan B.League, Thirdy Ravena brims with pride, but also recognizes that it comes with responsibility and standards to live up to.


Now on his second season with the San-en NeoPhoenix in Division 1 of the Japanese league, former Ateneo King Eagle Mr. Ravena is very excited more so that other Filipino athletes have come to join him to showcase and share their talent in the Land of the Rising Sun.


“It’s a great feeling to be the first out here and it’s an even greater feeling to see other people coming in after me, after opening the door for them. It’s something bigger than me,” said Mr. Ravena during the virtual press conference for the documentary

Local Hero: Thirdy Ravena

on Wednesday.


“But it’s a big responsibility as well, especially now that I’m still playing,” he quickly added. “I have to make sure that I stay strong to be an inspiration to others, especially to the young ones, who someday dream of playing. Also, you want to show that you can do it. And that you are up for the challenge.”


Joining Mr. Ravena this season in B.League Division 1 play are his brother Kiefer, who plays for the Shiga Lakestars, Javi Gomez de Liaño (Ibaraki Robots), Kobe Paras (Niigata Albirex BB), Dwight Ramos (Toyoma Grouses) and Ray Parks, Jr. (Nagoya Diamond Dolphins).

Two others, Juan Gomez de Liaño (Earth Friends Tokyo Z) and Kemark Cariño (Aomori Wat’s), meanwhile, are seeing action in Division 2.

Mr. Ravena said that playing in Japan has enhanced further his growth as a player, and he expects the same thing to happen for the others who have followed suit.

But he also said that the arrival of Filipino players is a boon to the B.League across various levels.


For one, he said, the fan base of the league has been shored up with more Filipinos based in Japan as well as those here in the Philippines paying attention to the league.


“It’s really nice to see Filipino basketball fans here watching the games live and cheering for us and our teams. They even travel for hours just to see us. And that’s good for the league,” Mr. Ravena said.

Also, the NeoPhoenix player said Filipino players bring added dimension to the B.League in how they play the game.


“Our style of play is different from them, but when you combine these, good things can happen. Whether it’s athleticism, scoring and grit, we can do a lot of things and bring to the league,” he said.

Meanwhile, further chronicling Mr. Ravena’s B.League journey is

Local Hero

.


Produced by Empower Asia by Gatsby, the documentary will be streamed on VivaMax Philippines.


“This is about what went through here in Japan on and off the court when I started my journey. I hope people will be inspired by it, especially in believing in themselves and going for their dreams,” Mr. Ravena said. —

Michael Angelo S. Murillo