Japanese basketball

Thirdy Ravena to leave for Japan, boost B. League team

Beatrice Go
Thirdy Ravena to leave for Japan, boost B. League team
Thirdy Ravena aims to help his team San-en NeoPhoenix rise from the cellar in the Japan B. League West Conference

Thirdy Ravena is set to leave for his professional basketball debut in Japan on Thursday, October 15, the Ravena family confirmed to Rappler.

The three-peat UAAP champion and three-time Finals MVP is set to provide additional firepower to his B. League team San-en NeoPhoenix, who dropped to a 0-4 hole in the league that opened last October 2.

The 6-foot-2 swingman, who was signed as an Asian import for the team, will see action as a shooting guard instead of his small forward position in Ateneo.

Ravena was supposed to leave for Toyohashi last July, but he could only apply for a visa early October.

Ravena took a swab test on Tuesday, October 13, and will expect the results in 48 hours before he leaves for Japan.

San-en NeoPhoenix is one of the 20 top division teams in the Japan B. League. It has 3 league titles with the last one clinched in 2015.

The league recently introduced the “Asian Player Quotas” system, which allowed Ravena to become the first Filipino to play professional basketball in Japan. (READ: As Thirdy moves to Japan, Kiefer shares own overseas experience)

Ravena will be playing in a compressed and reformatted B. League 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.

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. – 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.