Thirdy Ravena glad to open Japan path for Pinoy cagers

Thirdy Ravena is glad that a number of Filipino players have followed his lead almost two years after taking his act in Japan’s B.League.

Thirdy Ravena

Ravena’s signing with the San-En Neophoenix in June 2020 set off the current trend that saw the likes of older brother Kiefer Ravena, Ray Parks Jr. and Dwight Ramos join the Japanese league the following season.

Former La Salle star Justine Baltazar was the latest to join the B.League while several PBA players have been rumored to be entertaining thoughts of going to the Land of the Rising Sun.

“I thought I was just going to help one person out. And it eventually led to this whole thing where people actually think about Japan when they think about going pro and it's an amazing feeling,” Ravena said in a B.League discussion featuring Filipino players held over the weekend.

The ex-Ateneo star’s maiden campaign with San-En in the 2020-21 season was marred by a Covid-19 infection and a pair of injuries that limited him to just 18 games.

In the recent 2021-22 season, Ravena appeared in 46 games and posted 11.8 points, 3.6 rebounds and 2.4 assists for the Neophoenix.

San-En, however, went 10-48.

“Definitely the season has been better generally,” he said. “Without any injuries, I was able to play most of the games. I think I only skipped about three games.

“Before the season, I had a little bit more time to get to know my teammates in the system. But this year, I mean, it's been good for us individually, we might not have had the result that we wanted as a team. But I'd say most of us played pretty good individually.”