Import Thirdy Ravena credits foreign athletes for development

JR Isaga
Import Thirdy Ravena credits foreign athletes for development


Thirdy Ravena, the first Asian import in Japan’s B.League, says playing with foreigners allows him  to ’copy all their good habits’


MANILA, Philippines – Former UAAP star Thirdy Ravena has made it clear where he stands on the foreign student-athlete (FSA) debate. 

Speaking on The Prospects Pod on Friday, June 26, the newly signed San-en NeoPhoenix import of the Japanese B.League credited his foreigner friends and foes for his development to a three-time UAAP Finals MVP.

Grabe, sa totoo lang, malaking tulong sila kasi nga it’s a different culture,” he said. “Just hearing them, seeing their interests doon sa different culture na ‘yun, nade-develop namin. Napapag-usapan din namin yung culture dito, yung Philippines.”

(To tell you the truth, they have been a big help because it’s a different culture. Just hearing them, seeing their interests in that different culture, we developed that. We’ve also talked about the culture here in the Philippines.) 

Over his decorated career in the UAAP, Ravena has played with and against some of the best young stars the world has to offer. (READ: NeoPhoenix boss in awe of Thirdy: ‘He is like an American’)

UAAP MVPs like La Salle’s Ben Mbala, UP’s Bright Akhuetie and UST’s Soulemane Chabi Yo pushed Ravena and the Ateneo Blue Eagles to the limit during their three-peat championship run. 

He has also played against other top FSAs like three-time NCAA champion Donald Tankoua of San Beda and new UP Fighting Maroons reinforcement Malick Diouf in the PCCL and PBA D-League. 

Meanwhile, former Rookie of the Year Ange Kouame still has 3 more years left to dominate with the Blue Eagles after enjoying a two-year run with Ravena. 

It is also worth mentioning that Ravena’s coach Tab Baldwin is likewise a foreigner – an American-Kiwi honing young Filipino basketball stars.

Marami talaga kaming bagay na nagagawa especially with Fil-foreign athletes kasi kumbaga nakikita mo rin yung mindset nila, kung ano yung mga differences in mindset,” Ravena continued. “Nakokopya mo rin yung mga good habits nila.” 

(We can really do a lot especially with Fil-foreign athletes because we get to see their mindset as well and how theirs are different. You get to copy all their good habits.) 

“So they definitely played such a big part in my career and my development as a player.” (READ: Why play in Japan? ‘To challenge myself,’ says Thirdy Ravena)

The subject on the effects of FSAs gained new life in the past few days after the NCAA, the Philippines’ oldest collegiate league, upheld their controversial FSA ban and said that foreign athletes do “more harm than good.” 

Multiple foreign-blood stars like Akhuetie and Chris Ross have openly criticized the move in the past two years since this rule’s implementation was set in motion. 

As for Ravena, he is now set to head to Japan as its first Filipino import, garnering praise from Japanese and Filipino basketball officials alike. –


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