Filipino players will earn a share of the spotlight in the B.League's All-Star Festivities in Okinawa, Japan in January.
The eight Filipinos currently playing as Asian imports in Japan's professional league will banner the team that will play against the B.League Rising Stars in an All-Star Game on Friday, January 14.
They are: Kiefer Ravena (Shiga Lakestars), Thirdy Ravena (San-En NeoPhoenix), Ray Parks (Nagoya Diamond Dolphins), Javi Gomez de Liano (Ibaraki Robots), Dwight Ramos (Toyoma Grouses), Kobe Paras (Niigata Albirex BB), Kemark Carino (Aomori Wat's), and Juan Gomez de Liano (Earthfriends Tokyo Z).
Joining them are other Asian Quota Players: Indonesia's Brandon Jawato (Utsunomiya Brex); China's Wang Weijia (Akita Northern Happinets); Korea's Yang Jae-min (Shinshu Brave Warriors); Taiwan's Lin Chih-wei (Rizing Zephyr Fukuoka); and China's Liu Jin (Nishinomiya Storks).
Ryukyu coach Dai Oketani will call the shots for the Asian All-Stars.
"Very much excited to play against the rising stars of the B.League, and of course with my Filipino brothers here and also from the different countries that are being represented here in the B.League," Kiefer Ravena said Monday when the line-ups were unveiled.
"It's going to be a fun event… To all the fans who are very much excited to watch the B.League All-Star Game, hopefully you can tune in not only in the main game but also watch the rising stars against the Asian Quota Players," he added.
The Asian Quota Players will be up against the Rising Stars team, composed of: Kai Toews (Utsunomiya), Takuma Sato (Chiba Jets), Taiki Osakabe (Alvark Tokyo), Keisuke Masuda (Kawasaki Brave Thunders), Satoru Maeta (Kawasaki), Yuto Nohmi (Niigata), Matthew Aquino (Shinshu), Ryogo Sumino (Seahorses Mikawa), Takumi Saito (Nagoya), Eliet Donley (Osaka Evessa), Ryo Terashima (Hiroshima Dragonflies), Koh Flippin (Ryukyu Golden Kings), and Keita Imamura (Ryukyu).
Chiba's Zoran Martichi will coach the Rising Stars.
"We'd like to give you a very good game, a very entertaining game, and just to experience playing against the future of the B.League is going to be exciting, it's going to be fun," said Ravena, who was joined by Toews in the press conference.
Ahead of the Asia-Rising Stars Game, the B.League will hold a Slam Dunk Contest, a Three-Point Shootout, and a Skills Challenge.
Paras will compete in the Slam Dunk Contest where he will go up against Sebastian Saiz of Tokyo, and the Ryukyu pair of Koh Flippin and Dwayne Evans.
Brothers Thirdy and Kiefer Ravena will compete in the Skills Challenge against Chiba's Yuki Togashi, Ibaraki's Asahi Tajima, Kawasaki's Yuma Fuiji, Nagoya's Takumi Saito, and and Kyoto's Tatsuya Suzuki.
Finally, Ibaraki's Javi Gomez de Liano is part of the Three-Point Contest pool, along with Akita's Takatoshi Furukawa, Yokohama's Masaaki Morikawa, Shimane's Kosuke Kanamaru, Ryukyu's Ryuichi Kishimoto, and Hiroshima's Naoto Tsuji.
The main All-Star Game is set for January 15, still in Okinawa. The B.League will also hold a separate All-Star Game for its Under-18 stars on the same day.