Thirdy regains groove as San-En escapes Niigata

Published December 19, 2020, 7:35 PM

by Jonas Terrado

Thirdy Ravena produced his best game since recovering from COVID-19 as the San-En Neophoenix slipped past Niigata Albirex, 85-81, in their B.League game Saturday in Toyohashi, Japan.

Ravena had 11 points on 4-of-10 shooting with two rebounds and one assist in almost 17 minutes off the bench to help the Neophoenix extend their winning run to three games, this time in front of their home supporters at the Toyohashi City Central Gymnasium.

San-En improved to 5-17 after beating an Albirex side reinforced by three-time PBA Best Import Allen Durham.

Durham finished with 14 points, nine rebounds and five assists but Niigata dropped to 6-16.

The Neophoenix blew a pair of 16-point leads but took the lead for good with 26 seconds left in the fourth when import Kyle Hunt scored a putback, breaking an 81-all deadlock.

Serbian reinforcement Steven Jelovac sealed the win with two free throws after drawing an offensive foul on the previous possession.

It was Ravena’s first home victory since making his Neophoenix debut in early-November and the game also served as a sign that the ex-Ateneo star is slowly getting back to his former self after being quarantined several weeks ago when he tested positive for the coronavirus.

Saturday’s numbers were an improvement from his limited playing time in last weekend’s two victories on the road against Levanga Hokkaido.

San-En goes for a sweep of Albirex when the two sides square off again Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. Manila time (2 p.m. local time) in Toyohashi.