After completing his roller-coaster first season in the Japan B. League, former Ateneo King Eagle Thirdy Ravena expressed his gratitude to the Filipino community in Japan, who showed nothing but love for him throughout the whole ride.
“They’ve been very supportive, I actually met a couple of people out here,” said the San-En NeoPhoenix import during the episode of Rappler Talk Sports.
“It’s nice because even during our away games, the Filipinos [still] watch,” he added.
Unfortunately, Ravena only managed to play a total of 18 games in front of the devoted Filipino basketball fans in Japan as he dealt with COVID-19 and injuries in the middle of the season.
Because of this, the 24-year-old guard could not help but feel dejected whenever the Filipinos would come to his games, only to find out that he is not even suited up.
“Even when I was injured, the Filipino fans would still watch, and I honestly felt really sad,” he said in a mix of English and Filipino.
“I mean, it really breaks my heart to see that and I think that’s one of the things that really hurt me.”
Even though he struggled to find his groove all season long, the three-time UAAP Finals MVP Ravena still averaged 9.1 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 1.6 assists, and he gave credit to the Filipino fans for motivating and inspiring him amid all the challenges that he had to face.
In the end, although Ravena wished he could have played more, he is grateful for all the love the Filipino community in Japan have shown to him during his first year as a pro.
“It’s been all love ever since with the Filipinos, definitely.” – Rappler.com