A week after a much-hyped showdown with his older brother, Thirdy Ravena is now looking forward to facing off against another Filipino import in the B.League -- one of his closest friends, Kobe Paras.
Ravena and the San-En NeoPhoenix split their first two games last weekend against Kiefer and the Shiga Lakestars. After squandering a big lead on Saturday and absorbing a 93-83 loss, San-En bounced back on Sunday, rallying from 18-points down to win 101-96 in overtime.
In his first two games, Ravena has averaged 16 points, six rebounds, and three assists per game, and was the catalyst of their comeback against the Lakestars on Sunday.
This weekend, they will play at home against Niigata Albirex BB, which also split its first two games of the season.
For Ravena, the highlight of the coming weekend will be his showdown with Paras.
"It's such an exciting feeling kasi kami ni Kobe, we go way, way back," Ravena said. "We've been teammates since we were nine or 10 years old… Kobe and I have been friends for a long time."
"So talagang masaya and nakaka-excite 'yung feeling na maglalaban na kami here in Japan as well. I'm very happy for him, he's gone through so much in his life, and I'm very happy where he's at right now, and I wish him all the best," he added.
Paras was sensational in his debut for Niigata, firing 25 points along with four assists, although they lost 85-81 to Kyoto Hannaryz. The next day, he had 10 points in a 76-75 win.
Ravena and Paras last played against each other in the UAAP Season 82 men's basketball tournament, with Ravena and Ateneo de Manila University emerging triumphant over the University of the Philippines in their two elimination round encounters.
They will reinvigorate that rivalry on Saturday at the Hamamatsu Arena.
"This weekend, mukhang magkalaban muna kami, it's gonna be very exciting," said Ravena.
"But at the same time, it's gonna be something that the Filipino people would hopefully be proud of once again. So, yeah, I'm very excited for this weekend," he added.