Ryukyu crushes San-En to spoil Thirdy Ravena’s return from injury

Published March 31, 2021, 9:24 PM

by Jonas Terrado

Thirdy Ravena’s return from a lengthy absence ended on a sour note Wednesday, March 31 as the San-En NeoPhoenix suffered a 110-71 road loss to the Ryukyu Golden Kings in Okinawa, Japan.

Not even the presence of Ravena, who returned from a 22-game absence due to a fractured finger, could prevent the NeoPhoenix from dropping to 11-38 in the Japan B.League season.

Ravena scored 11 points on 5-of-14 shooting with two rebounds, one assist and one steal in 31 minutes for San-En.

The former Ateneo star was placed in the starting lineup by coach Branislav Vicentic despite coming from three months of recovery.

He almost produced the signature highlight of his comeback by blocking Kim Tillie’s dunk attempt early in the contest. But Ravena could only show his disbelief when he was whistled for a foul instead.

Though Ravena played as if he didn’t miss significant time, San-En had no answers for a Ryukyu side which turned the game into a blowout in the second half.

The NeoPhoenix were also missing the services of Serbian center Stevan Jelovac, who is averaging a team-high 18.8 points.

Ryukyu improved to 36-10 with seven players scoring in double figures.

San-En returns home this weekend for a pair of games against the Kawasaki Brave Warriors.

The two matches will see the NeoPhoenix sport blue uniforms as a homage to Ravena’s stints with Ateneo and Gilas Pilipinas.