Thirdy gets chance to spread wings in Japan

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    FORMER Ateneo “King Eagle” Thirdy Ravena is finally set to spread his wings in “The Land of the Rising Sun.”

    Ravena is set to leave today to suit up as an import for San-en NeoPhoenix in the Japan B. League.

    Thirdy’s father, TNT coach Bong Ravena, said his family has mixed emotions with Thirdy’s coming stint in Japan.

    “Happy kami na makakaalis na siya, makakalaro na siya,” the elder Ravena said yesterday in the PBA media availability event in the Philippine Cup bubble in Pampanga.

    “But sad at the same time, na malayo siya sa amin, lalo na andito kami ni Kief (Ravena, Thirdy’s older brother),” he added.

    The 6-foot-2 Ravena, who was signed as an import by San-en NeoPhoenix last June, was supposedly set to go to Japan last July but failed to get a Japanese visa on time.

    He started working on his visa last Oct. 1 when the Japanese embassy finally opened its doors after being closed from March to August due to the health perils posed by the deadly COVID-19 pandemic.

    Although the embassy initially opened last Sept. 1, diplomats and those applying for permanent residency were prioritized.

    Ravena, 23, missed San-en NeoPhoenix’s first four matches that ended in defeat.

    He will be required to undergo 14-day quarantine.

    The first Filipino and Asian to suit up as an import under the league’s Asian quotas initiative, Ravena led the Blue Eagles to the last three UAAP crowns where he was named finals MVP in each season.

    Ravena skipped last year’s pro league draft despite being projected as likely the top pick overall.

    The youngest son of former pro Bong and former volleyball star Mozzy, Ravena also received offers to bring his act to Australia, New Zealand, and Italy.

    The elder avena expects a tough grind ahead for Thirdy in Japan.

    “He’ll live by himself there. It’s going to be hard for him,” he said. “Buti na lang may internet, at least makikita namin siya.”