MANILA, Philippines -- Thirdy Ravena insists he feels no additional pressure in joining a club that is trying to rise from the cellar of Japan's B.League.
Ravena opted not to declare for the PBA Rookie Draft at the end of his sterling collegiate career with the Ateneo de Manila University, instead choosing to pursue opportunities abroad. He decided to play professional basketball in Japan, signing with the San-En NeoPhoenix as an Asian import.
It will be an unfamiliar situation for Ravena, who graduated as a three-time UAAP champion with the Blue Eagles. The NeoPhoenix was the bottom-ranked team in the whole B.League last season, with a 5-36 win-loss record.
"Yeah, alam ko na 'yung standing wasn't really the best," Ravena said during an interview on "The Prospects" podcast. "But when you look at it, pwede rin siyang maging positive, kasi walang expectation."
"There's only room for a lot of improvement," he added. "It's one of the reasons why I chose NeoPhoenix."
Ravena is determined to help the NeoPhoenix do just that, even as he acknowledges that it will be a challenging task.
"I want to help them out and have them (get) a better record next season," he said during his introductory press conference. "I just can't wait to play."
"I don't want to say any promises," he added. "I just want to show you guys what we are as an organization."
His bosses at San-En NeoPhoenix have already tabbed Ravena as a "key player," and they expect him to play multiple positions -- including point guard. It will be a new role for Ravena, who was rarely the primary ball-handler during his time with the Blue Eagles.
"Playing point guard is definitely something I wasn't always used to," he admitted. "But if I have to, I will be."
"I'm ready to make adjustments," he vowed. "I know we have great coaches in the team who are ready to help, and I'm ready to learn as well."
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