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Japan-bound Thirdy Ravena on blazing new trail: ‘Follow your heart’

Delfin Dioquino
Japan-bound Thirdy Ravena on blazing new trail: ‘Follow your heart’

Josh Albelda

Touted as a No. 1 overall pick in the PBA, Thirdy Ravena decides to skip the previous draft to pursue an overseas career

MANILA, Philippines – Thirdy Ravena is blazing a new trail for Filipino basketball players as he heads to Japan to join the San-en NeoPhoenix in the B.League. 

Fresh from leading the Ateneo Blue Eagles to a third straight UAAP championship, Ravena was touted as a No. 1 overall pick in the PBA but he decided to skip the previous draft to pursue an overseas career.

No matter how hackneyed it may sound, Ravena has only one advice following his decision: “Follow your heart.”

“If you want to really play internationally, pursue that. If your heart is to play in the Philippines, you can do that as well,” Ravena said in an online press conference on Friday, June 26. 

“For me, it is just a matter of realizing what you want to do in life and where you want to do it. Wherever it may be, just follow it.”

Choosing where to go, though, was not an easy decision for Ravena.

Aside from the NeoPhoenix, Ravena also received offers from other Japanese teams. (READ: NeoPhoenix boss in awe of Thirdy: ‘He is like an American’)

Of course, playing in the PBA – where his brother Kiefer is currently a star for the NLEX Road Warriors – has always been a viable option. 

“I was nervous and I had anxiety when I was thinking about it, especially when I was making my decision,” Ravena said. 

“But overall, I realized the only reason why I’m here is because I love competition and I love being outside of my comfort zone.” 

Ravena will surely be forced to play out of his comfort zone as he faces the daunting task of helping the NeoPhoenix climb up the ranks. 

From starring for perennial contenders Blue Eagles, Ravena will now play for a team that compiled the worst record in the first division of the league last season.

“Whatever challenge it may be, I’m ready to deal with it,” Ravena said. 

“I definitely want to help them out and make sure that we have a better record next season. I do not want to say any promises. I just want to show you guys what we are as an organization.” –

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Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.