Thirdy shows wares in Japan in October

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    CAN former Ateneo star wingman Thirdy Ravena prove to be as good as advertised in the Japan B. League?

    That will be known on Oct. 3 and 4 when San-en NeoPhoenix launches its campaign against the powerhouse Chiba Jets at the 8,000-seater Hamamatsu Arena in Shizuoka.

    San-en NeoPhoenix announced the first set of games in Japan’s pro league via its social media accounts last Monday.

    The 6-foot-2 Ravena signed up as an import for San-en NeoPhoenix last June 24 as the first Filipino and first Asian to suit up under the B. League’s Asian quotas initiative.

    Ravena, 23, is set to leave for “The Land of the Rising Sun” this month, barring possible problems brought about by the deadly COVID-19 pandemic.

    The B. League’s 2019-2020 season was called off for good last March due to the coronavirus crisis.

    It will take a lot of doing for San-en NeoPhoenix to rise to relevance.

    The squad was sporting a 6-25 record before last season was shut down, while the Jets wound up with a 28-12 card.

    Chiba will be led by the likes of Japan national team playmaker Yuki Togashi and American reinforcements Josh Duncan and Shannon Shorter.

    Aside from Ravena, also a Gilas Pilipinas national team training pool member, San-en NeoPhoenix will rely on 6-foot-9 center Atsuya Ota, guard Yuki Kawamura, and forward Takanobu Nishikawa.

    After leading the Blue Eagles to the last three UAAP titles 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 cager Bong and former volleyball star Mozzy, Ravena was reprimanded by PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial, Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas president Al Panlilio and Director for Operations Butch Antonio last week after he violated quarantine protocols.

    Along with pro league big man and Ginebra star Japeth Aguilar, Rain or Shine rookie guard Adrian Wong, Gilas special draftee Isaac Go of Terra Firma, and University of the Philippines standout Kobe Paras, Ravena played in a five-on-five game at the Ronac Gym in San Juan last July 1.

    Ravena also received offers to bring his act to Australia, New Zealand, and Italy.