Japanese basketball

FAST FACTS: Thirdy Ravena’s historic stint in the Japan B. League

Beatrice Go
FAST FACTS: Thirdy Ravena’s historic stint in the Japan B. League

Photo from Thirdy Ravena's Instagram

Here are some things to know about Thirdy Ravena’s Japan stint with San-en NeoPhoenix

Thirdy Ravena is set to make his professional basketball debut with Japan B. League team San-en NeoPheonix on Saturday, November 7. 

The team managed to sign the country’s lone 3-time UAAP Finals MVP as the league introduced the Asian Player Quota system, allowing Ravena to become the first Filipino to play in the B. League. (READ: Thirdy Ravena gets warm welcome from San-en in 1st practice)

Here are some things you need to know about Ravena’s Japan stint with San-en NeoPhoenix: 

San-en plays in the top division league

San-en NeoPhoenix is one of the 20 top division teams in the Japan B. League, which kicked off in 2016 following a merger of the National Basketball League sanctioned by the Japan Basketball Association and the independently operated bj league.

Prior to the merger, San-en had 3 bj league titles with the last one clinched in 2015. 

Due to the pandemic, the league compressed and reformatted the season where the teams are split into two conferences – the East and West – instead of 3.

San-en is bunched in the West Conference with 2018-2019 regular season top 5 finisher Ryuku Golden Kings. The 2019-2020 season was suspended starting March 14 and eventually canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Reigning champion Alvark Tokyo will continue to be the team to beat this season as the 2019 FIBA Asia Champions Cup winner is aiming for a three-peat. 

Japan national team guard Daiki Tanaka will continue to lead the powerhouse squad with point guard Seiya Ando and former Cleveland Cavaliers center Alex Kirk. 

The B. League aims to finish the season in May 2021 as the delayed Tokyo 2020 Olympics will open on July 23. However, the league will continue to monitor the coronavirus situation in Japan and make adjustments to the schedule. 

Ravena can play full time as San-en’s Asian player

As San-en’s Asian player, Ravena will be treated like a local player, meaning that he can play full time in the game and is included in the domestic salary cap. 

With the introduction of the Asian Player Quota system, each team can list 3 foreign players and a naturalized player, a player with dual citizenship, or an Asian import per match. 

During the game, a team can only send out a maximum of two foreign players per quarter, who will play together with either the Asian import, naturalized player, or the dual citizen. 

The system was introduced in the Korea and Japan basketball leagues in order to develop Asian basketball and discover players from emerging countries such as the Philippines and Indonesia.

Before Ravena’s arrival, San-en has had the worst season record

San-en is looking for a hero in Ravena to shake things up as the Hamamatsu Higashimikawa-based squad currently holds the league’s worst record 1-9 and sits at the bottom of the standings. 

NeoPhoenix only managed to barge into the win column last October 28 with a 94-75 victory over Kyoto Hannaryz. 

Ravena is slated to reinforce Serbian center Steven Jelovac, who has been leading San-en with averages of 26 points, 10.8 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.3 steals. 

American-Jamaican big man Kyle Hunt also made an immediate impact in his San-en debut on Wednesday’s game as he chipped in a double-double of 16 points and 10 boards. 

With Ravena and Hunt set to combine forces, San-en’s Serbian head coach Vladimir Jovanovic may just be able to turn things around this season. – Rappler.com

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Beatrice Go

More commonly known as Bee, Beatrice Go is a multimedia sports reporter for Rappler, who covers Philippine sports governance, national teams, football, and the UAAP. Stay tuned for her news and features on Philippine sports and videos like the Rappler Athlete’s Corner and Rappler Sports Timeout.