Thirdy provides big lift off the bench

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    THIRDY Ravena played the sparkplug’s role as San-En NeoPhoenix held off hard-fighting Niigata Albirex BB 85-81 last Saturday in the Japan B. League at the Toyohashi City General Gymnasium.

    Ravena provided a big lift off the bench and scored 11 points, pulled down two rebounds, and issued one assist in the victory that stretched San-En NeoPhoenix’s winning streak to three.

    The 6-foot-2 wingman came up with 10 markers, four boards, and one dime yesterday but San-En NeoPhoenix absorbed a 79-86 loss to the same opponent.

    Resident PBA import Allen Durham of Meralco took charge for Niigata by pouring four of his squad’s last seven points to douse cold water on San-En NeoPhoenix’s last-ditch effort.

    Durham finished with 17 and 11 for Niigata, which also snapped its six-game losing skid.

    With the defeat, San-En NeoPhoenix dropped to 5-18 in the West District.

    San-En NeoPhoenix will wind up the year when it tangles with Akita Northern Happinets on Dec. 26 at the CNA Arena Akita.

    Ravena, who turned 24 last Dec. 17, tested positive for COVID-19 last Nov. 27 after he played in a scrimmage against private ballclub Kanazawa Samurai Team last Nov. 24.

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

    The only San-En NeoPhoenix player to play in the All-Star, Ravena is also set to join the Slam Dunk contest on Jan. 15.

    After leading the Blue Eagles to three straight UAAP crowns where he was named finals MVP in each season, Ravena skipped 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 as an import under the league’s Asian quotas initiative last June.