Thirdy and Kiefer Ravena more than lived up to the exceptional hype given to them by the Japan B. League after both the Shiga Lakestars and San-en NeoPhoenix collected a win over the other in the league’s opening weekend on October 2 and 3.
Both brothers, who are currently key cogs for the Gilas Pilipinas national team’s present and future plans, immediately proved that they are simply built for high-level professional basketball, no matter where they go in the world.
“We were really looking forward to it. This is the first time we played against each other in a real game, a professional game,” Kiefer said in a special press conference with Thirdy on Sunday, October 3.
“I guess he got the last laugh, but we’re happy that we finished the weekend healthy, without injuries. Of course, it’s a long season, so we have to prepare for all the other teams in the league,” he continued.
Kiefer is, of course, talking about San-en’s thrilling 18-point comeback win in overtime on Sunday against Shiga, where Thirdy indeed got the last laugh after recording 21 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, and numerous clutch plays to seal the 101-96 win.
For the NeoPhoenix, it was nothing but good, old-fashioned payback after the Lakestars stunned them on Saturday with a huge 22-point turnaround to earn their first win of the new season, 93-83.
“Both games were very tough. We both had a big first half, and we both found a way to bounce back in the second half. So it was a great weekend overall. We’re just happy to represent our teams, and of course, our country as well,” Thirdy said.
In both wins, the Ravena brothers displayed the skills that earned them the respect of their peers and foes alike.
In Saturday’s Shiga comeback, Kiefer flexed his shooting chops and pinpoint playmaking in the midst of intense pressure to record a home win, and finished with 11 points, 8 assists, 3 rebounds, and 3 steals with zero turnovers to boot.
Thirdy, meanwhile, fully showcased his all-around prowess in San-en’s Sunday revenge as he relentlessly attacked the Lakestars’ defense, skied high for rebounds, made quick decisions on his dimes, and maintained his rapidly-improving shooting touch all day.
From the eye test, it is clear that both brothers still have distinct strengths and weaknesses, and that they are great and easy fits for their respective teams.
The Ravenas won’t meet again until another back-to-back set on January 22 and 23, 2022, and for now, both are just happy to get the first matches over with, as they now shift their focus to other teams in the huge, 60-game season.
“Looking ahead, we still have a lot of games, 58 more. It’s important to enjoy the win, as well, but we can’t be content with just having one win. We have to prepare the best that we can,” Thirdy said. – Rappler.com