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Trailblazer Thirdy thrilled to see 'Filipino brothers' playing in Japan B. League

Luisa Morales - Philstar.com
Trailblazer Thirdy thrilled to see 'Filipino brothers' playing in Japan B. League
Thirdy Ravena
B. League

MANILA, Philippines — Thirdy Ravena was the first, but he was certainly not the last.

Since the former Ateneo standout signed his rookie contract with the San-En NeoPhoenix back in 2020, the floodgates have opened for Filipino cagers in the Japan B. League.

After seeing more than a handful of players join him in the ranks of teams across the Land of the Rising Sun in 2021, more Filipino hoops players have been signed by B. League teams.

A total of 11 Filipino players now have active contracts in the league, ranging from the first and second division of the league as imports.

As the 2022-23 B. League season opens, Ravena shared his thoughts on blazing the trail for Filipino imports in Japan.

"Well of course I’m very happy that I got my Filipino brothers here with me in Japan right now and everyone can see how great of a league BL is," said Ravena during the season's tip-off conference on Tuesday.

"I just want to say thank you to the league for accepting us Filipinos and other Asian countries out here. Hoping for more Filipinos to come," he added.

Ravena, who is also joined by his brother Kiefer who plays for the Shiga Lakes, became a blueprint for more than a number of hoops stars — some of whom decided to play overseas directly after college, like UP alumni Kobe Paras (Altiri Chiba) and Ateneo's Dwight Ramos (Levanga Hokkaido).

Some have also headed elsewhere, with the likes of RJ Abarrientos and SJ Belangel playing in Korea and UAAP champion Ricci Rivero seeing action in Taiwan.

As he gears up for his third year with San-En in the B. League, Ravena had nothing but good things to say on where he's at.

"Whichever path they choose, just know that Japan is always a nice place to be in, and the league is always evolving, always looking for ways on how to develop not just the players, but the league, and make it stronger and stronger every single year." he said.

Ravena and the rest of San-En NeoPhoenix open their new season on Saturday, October 1, against the Kawasaki Brave Thunders.

BASKETBALL

JAPAN B.LEAGUE

THIRDY RAVENA

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