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Ravena welcomes new challenges, bigger foes

Thirdy Ravena said he will have to get used to playing with red as the color of his uniform and facing bigger, stronger opponents.

FROM BLUE TO RED. Thirdy Ravena is bringing his talent to Japan’s B.League.
Now that he has signed up for the San-en NeoPhoenix club team in Japan’s B.League, red will be the new hue of his jersey in the years to come.

“I never wore red in basketball until this year. So I’m very excited to rock this color,” said Ravena.

The 23-year-old former Ateneo Blue Eagle was introduced on Friday by his club team in a zoom press conference that they hosted from their prefecture in Aichi.

Ravena, who is in home quarantine in their family residence in Taytay, Rizal, said he had always blue and white while in high school and college, and while playing his alma mater, the Ateneo Blue Eagles. He also wore blue and white as a part of the Gilas Pilipinas national team.

“This color (red) has something to do with my new team. I’m used to having blue and white because of my university,” added Ravena, who wore a scarlet shirt and dyed his hair in a similar shade as well.

Ravena said many former NBA players are expected to show up in the league in the coming season.

And he is looking forward to meeting them on the floor.

“The league attracts a lot of big man imports outside of the NBA and I can’t wait to compete against these former NBA players,” said Ravena.

Ravena’s entry into the Japanese cagefest is part of the organization’s plan to expand its reach in Asia.

The Phoenix is one of the eight teams the First Division’s Central Conference, with Toyohashi City General Gymnasium as its home court.

And there’s a total of 18 squads in Division 1.

Ravena is the team’s second import, next to Serbian Steven Jelovac.

After signing up last Wednesday, Ravena said he hopes to join his squad before the opening of the 2020-2021 season.

“I hope to bring with me a lot of Filipino fans as well,” added Ravena, who noted that there are 8,000 Filipinos working and living in the Hamamatsu area.

Ravena, a member of the three-time champion with Ateneo Blue Eagles, will now be preparing to see action in the B.League’s fifth season.

“It would be amazing if I could be a great help to the success of the club,” said Ravena.

Ravena is among the first cagers to join the B.League through the “Asian Player Quotas” instituted in November last year.

New policies have been introduced in the 2019-20 B. League season, which was forced to end with one-third of the regular season remaining in late March because of the coronavirus outbreak.

San-en NeoPhoenix CEO Kenjiro Hongo said they are excited to see what Ravena can bring into the team, with him being a 6’3” shooting guard/small forward combo player.

“He is a key player to the team for this season. His play is powerful and speedy. So, it’s fun to see,” said Hongo, who introduced Ravena with  general manager Seiichiro Kage.

Hongo said their league’s plans to get players throughout Asia comes as the National Basketball Association is having its very own Japanese player in Rui Hachimura playing with the Washington Wizards.

Hachimura was ranked ninth in the NBA Rookie Draft as a first-round draft pick last season.

“We are really proud of having him (Thirdy) to our organization. We are using Asia player quotas and Thirdy is the fit to be here,” said Kage.

Topics: Thirdy Ravena , San-en NeoPhoenix , Japan , Basketball , Kenjiro Hongo
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