Thirdy Ravena is living up to the hype in the Japan B.League.
As the Asian import of San-En NeoPhoenix, Ravena received an overwhelming welcome from the Japanese community. But the Filipinos wouldn’t be out of the picture, of course.
Before Ravena’s first game on Saturday, Filipino artist Allyn Martin paid homage to the former Ateneo standout by drawing him as manga character.
Giving off a Slamdunk-esque vibe, Martin posted four different panels of his illustrations on his Instagram account @martinallynns.
The artwork was in reference to Slam Dunk, a hit sports manga and basketball anime series by Takehiko Inoue, which was also aired before on Philippine television.
Ravena recognized the dedicated artwork by reposting it on his Instagram story and leaving a comment on Martin’s post.
While the PBA has its own “Pinoy Sakuragi” in Magnolia’s Marc Pingris and “Pinoy Fukuda” in Jackson Corpuz, the 23-year-old Ravena most likely had the closest resemblance as of now.
Slam Dunk’s main protagonist Hanamichi Sakuragi sported a unique red-haired pompadour hairstyle at the initial parts of the series before rocking a buzz cut later on.
Ravena also decided for a style change upon joining San-En, and now portrays the same looks as Sakuragi dyed in pink.
After winning his debut game Saturday against the Susanoo Shimane Magic, 83-82, at the Yonago Industrial Gymnasium, Ravena left an extra message for his supporters and San-En fans.
“Hey guys, I just wanna make a video para lang magpasalamat sa inyo,” said Ravena on his Instagram Story. “Grabe talaga ‘yung suporta tsaka ‘yung pagmamahal na nakukuha namin sa team, ramdam na ramdam ko dito sa Japan.”
“Very overwhelming to be honest pero sana patuloy niyo lang po ‘yung pagsuporta niyo [at] pagsubaybay niyo. Maraming salamat po sa lahat ng mga nanood ng game. Sana tuloy-tuloy lang po ‘yung pagsuporta sa team namin dito sa San-En Neophoenix,” added Ravena, who made an instant impact with San-En after posting 13 points, two rebounds and two assists in 15 minutes of play.