Thirdy an All-Star in Japan

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    RAVENA: Going places in Japan.

    THIRDY Ravena, in only his first season as an import for San-En NeoPhoenix in the Japan B. League, has already proven he has what it takes.

    The high-flying former Ateneo standout was chosen to play in the league’s All-Star Game on January 17, 2021 at the Adastria Mito Arena in Mito, Ibaraki Prefecture.

    He is also set to join the Slam Dunk contest on Jan. 15 where he will compete with former San Miguel import Ira Brown of Osaka Evessa, Chiba Jets’ Sebas Saiz and Koh Flippin, Alvark Tokyo’s Kosakebe Yasuaki, and Toyama Grouses’ Richard Solomon.

    Ravena, 23, got the highest votes under the Asian player quotas and will be a reserve for the B. White team.

    The 6-foot-2 wingman placed ninth among the guards, amassing 27,593 votes, and was the only player from San-En NeoPhoenix to make it to the All-Star game.

    Ravena is averaging 9.3 points and 4.0 rebounds for San-En NeoPhoenix, which is sporting a 4-17 card in the West District.

    Starters for the B. White squad are skipper Kosuke Kanamaru of SeaHorses Mikawa, who had the most votes for the team with 109,736; former PBA import Nick Fazekas and Ryusei Shinoyama of Kawasaki Brave Thunders, as well as Yuki Togashi and Sebas Saiz of Chiba Jets.

    Also members of the B. White team are Naoto Tsuji and Keisuke Masuda of Kawasaki, Gavin Edwards of Chiba, Avi Schafer of Mikawa, Jordan Taylor of Levanga Hokkaido, and Narito Namizato of Ryukyu Golden Kings.

    Coach Kenji Sato will call the shots for B. White.

    Voting pacesetter Ryan Rossiter of Utsunomiya Brex, who received 125,222 fan votes, will banner the B. Black team.

    Joining him in the first five are teammates Makoto Hiejima, Yuta Tabuse, Jeff Gibbs, and Toyama Grouses’ Julian Mavunga.

    Completing the squad are Yutaro Suda and Daiki Tanaka of Alvark Tokyo, Richard Solomon of Toyama, Leo Vendrame of Sun Rockers Shibuya, Takumi Saito of Nagoya Diamond Dolphins, Isaiah Murphy of Hiroshima Dragonflies, and Atsunobu Hirao of Ibaraki Robots.

    Luka Pavićević of defending champion Alvark Tokyo will coach the B. Black team.

    One more player for each side will be added via voting on the league’s social media accounts, with the players to be announced today.

    Ravena tested positive for COVID-19 last Nov. 27, four days after playing in a scrimmage against private ballclub Kanazawa Samurai Team.

    After leading the Blue Eagles to three straight UAAP titles where he was named finals MVP in each season, Ravena opted not to join last year’s PBA Draft despite being projected as likely the top pick overall and instead signed with San-En NeoPhoenix as the first Filipino and Asian to suit up as an import under the league’s Asian quotas initiative last June.