Why Thirdy Ravena chose to play in Japan over Italy, Australia, New Zealand


Posted at Jun 25 2020 03:34 PM

Why Thirdy Ravena chose to play in Japan over Italy, Australia, New Zealand 1
Ateneo's Thirdy Ravena in action during the UAAP Season 82 Finals. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA, Philippines -- Before deciding to play in Japan for B.League team San-En NeoPhoenix, Thirdy Ravena weighed offers from a few different clubs.

The former Ateneo de Manila University star could have gone to Italy, New Zealand, or Australia, but ultimately decided to play in Japan.

"We were able to get a couple of offers after the season from different places," Ravena said in an interview with Dyan Castillejo of ABS-CBN News. "We wanted to see which one would be the best fit for my current situation."

"There were actually some from Australia and New Zealand, and there's one in Italy, and a couple of teams in Japan," he added.

A team even made an offer to Ravena in the midst of the UAAP Season 82 men's basketball tournament, but Ravena turned it down as he wanted to focus on the Blue Eagles' campaign. He helped Ateneo win a third consecutive UAAP championship, in the process becoming a three-time Finals MVP.

"After that, we started talking and eventually, one became two and then it became four," Ravena said. "We ended up having to actually choose between certain clubs with my parents and my agent as well."

One reason that Ravena chose to play in Japan is its proximity to the Philippines. Ravena is hopeful that once the situation regarding the COVID-19 pandemic stabilizes, his family and friends will be able to visit him in the Aichi prefecture, where he will be staying. 

"Medyo mahirap po talaga 'yung mag-isa. Lalo na tayong mga Pilipino, we're actually used to having everyone around the house," said Ravena. "Homesickness is also very tough."

He also hopes that given the proximity between Japan and the Philippines, he will be allowed to return to the country should he get called up by the national team for FIBA competitions.

"Malapit rin po siya sa Philippines. Just in case may call-up from the national team, hopefully, makalaro din po," said Ravena. 

The new B.League season starts in October, but Ravena plans to leave for Japan as soon as he has fulfilled all the requirements. He is hopeful that he will be allowed to book a flight by July.

Upon arrival, he will be quarantined for two weeks before joining his new team in training.

Ravena is the first player signed in the B.League under its Asian player quota system, which allows the teams to put Asian imports in their roster. 

"(I'm) very excited, but at the same time a lot of mixed emotions. Of course, mahirap din po iwan 'yung Pilipinas, kaya it's also another obstacle for me that I have to overcome," Ravena said. "But overall, very excited for what's about to happen."

(For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website).