By REYNALD MAGALLON
Brothers Thirdy and Kiefer Ravena couldn’t help but be amazed with the support of Filipino overseas workers in their first match-up in B. League.
Taking advantage of the free admission at the Ukaruchan Arena in Otsu, Japan, fans came to see a fierce battle between the young stars, with Kiefer’s Shiga Lakestarts prevailing over Thirdy’s San-En NeoPhoenix, 93-83, in the first game.
It was the same intensity the next day when Thirdy and San-En exacted revenge against Kiefer and Shiga with a 101-96 overtime thriller.
Thirdy exploded for 21 points, seven rebounds and five assists for San-En while Kiefer displayed his fine form anew with 20 markers and seven assists.
“I think that’s the beauty of Filipinos all over the world, anytime that the national team plays, anywhere or just a Filipino out there playing not only for men’s basketball but also for women’s basketball, we’re very fortunate, the support of the Filipinos is always there,” said Kiefer.
“It always feels like we’re having homecourt advantage because of the Filipinos that are here.”
Thirdy, for his part, was just proud to be able to represent the country and showcase the Filipino brand of basketball overseas, especially with the workers in Japan taking their time to go out and cheer for them.
“It’s always a great feeling representing our country, playing the game that we love and see our countrymen go out there waving the flag to support us,” said the younger Ravena.
“We’re happy that we’re in this position and we get to represent not just our team but our country as well.”
Aside from the Ravenas, six other Filipino players will also be playing in the B.League. Kobe Paras already showed his wares with Niigata Albirex BB with an average of 17 points, two rebounds and two assists in two games. Juan Gomez de Llano also suited up already for Tokyo Earthfriends in the second division of B. League.
Ray Parks Jr., meanwhile, missed the opening games of his Nagoya Diamond Dolphins, due to a muscle strain while Dwight Ramos, Javi Gomez de Llano, and Kenmark Carino are still completing their quarantine before joining their respective teams.