MANILA, Philippines -- Though his first season in Japan's B.League was marred by injuries, Thirdy Ravena still showed glimpses of his talent and skills for the San-En NeoPhoenix.
Thus, his collegiate coach at the Ateneo de Manila University believes that Ravena is fully capable of becoming a standout player in the B.League.
"There's not a lot that you can take out of that first season and draw any conclusions about the impact it's going to have on him. More or less, he'll still be a rookie next year," said Ateneo head coach Tab Baldwin in a phone interview with ABS-CBN News.
Baldwin had overseen Ravena's career with the Blue Eagles in the UAAP, where they won three consecutive championships. Ravena was the Finals Most Valuable Player in each series.
Now also the program director of the Philippine national team program, Baldwin kept track of his player's progress in Japan even if Ravena played just 18 games for San-En due to injuries.
Ravena, who on Monday signed a contract extension with the NeoPhoenix, averaged only 9.1 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 1.6 assists per game last season. He never got to be at full strength, having missed the start of their campaign due to travel issues. He then tested positive for COVID-19 in late November, and then suffered a fractured finger in early January that kept him out for three months.
Shortly upon his return, Ravena tweaked his left knee and sat out their games late in the season.
Baldwin said that Ravena's ordeals were "really unfortunate."
"What's typical of players in their first season professionally is that they have a lot of ups and downs, and that's kind of important that they have that, because that is the learning process," he explained.
"Thirdy did experience some of that in the games that he played. But it was very difficult for him to settle into the roster, you know, missing as much as he did," he added.
Nonetheless, he believes Ravena can only grow from there and give a better account of himself in his second year with San-En.
"Just from what we did see, there's no question he has the talent to compete there and perhaps even stand out there as a player," said Baldwin.
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