MANILA, Philippines -- It took longer than he would have liked, but Thirdy Ravena is finally on his way to Japan, where he is set to play for the San-en NeoPhoenix in the B.League.
Visa issues kept Ravena from joining the team at the start of the B.League season, and the NeoPhoenix sputtered without their Asian import. The team has already lost four consecutive games.
Ravena confirmed via Instagram stories that he was already on his way to Tokyo.
The former Ateneo de Manila University star opted not to join the PBA Rookie Draft last year and instead pursued opportunities overseas. In June, it was announced that Ravena will join San-en NeoPhoenix as the first-ever player signed under the league's Asian Player Quota system.
His siblings posted emotional goodbyes and messages of encouragement for Ravena, with younger sister Dani telling him to "continue chasing your dreams."
Older brother Kiefer, who pursued opportunities in the United States before playing in the PBA, said he was sad not to be there to personally send off Thirdy. The eldest Ravena is currently in the PBA's bubble in Clark, Pampanga, playing for NLEX.
"Keep it locked in," Kiefer said in his message to Thirdy. "We're just one phone call away if you need anything."