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Isaac Go, Nieto twins proud of Thirdy Ravena for fulfilling childhood dream

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Tiebreaker Times Isaac Go, Nieto twins proud of Thirdy Ravena for fulfilling childhood dream Basketball Gilas Pilipinas News  Thirdy Ravena San-en NeoPhoenix Mike Nieto Matt Nieto Isaac Go Gilas Cadets 2020-21 B.League Season

Matt and Mike Nieto have been teammates with Thirdy Ravena since they were in Ateneo Grade School. 

And since they were playing in Philippine Athletic Youth Association, Ravena had one dream — to play abroad.

“Tinuloy niya ‘yung sinasabi niya since before na maglalaro siya abroad.

“Matagal na namin pinag-uusapan ni Thirdy ‘yan, and I’m proud kasi it’s happening right now,” said Matt Nieto.

Wednesday, his dreams were realized, as the 23-year-old is set to play for San-En NeoPhoenix in the Japan B.League.

For Isaac Go — who spent all six years of his collegiate life with Ravena — he knows that his friend’s competitive spirit led him to play in Japan’s premier league, rather than the PBA for now.

“He’s always talked about going abroad — to see what it’s like to be a professional outside of the Philippines, and to gauge himself to the level of competition out there. And now he gets a chance to do it. This just shows how much he’s work to get to this position, because not everyone gets an offer like this,” said the gentle 6-foot-8 Filipino-Chinese big man.

“It is only reserved for the elite few.”

In his last three years at Ateneo, Ravena dominated the collegiate basketball scene.

Tiebreaker Times Isaac Go, Nieto twins proud of Thirdy Ravena for fulfilling childhood dream Basketball Gilas Pilipinas News  Thirdy Ravena San-en NeoPhoenix Mike Nieto Matt Nieto Isaac Go Gilas Cadets 2020-21 B.League Season

“Finals Thirdy” became a term since he played at a whole other level during the last stage of the UAAP. Upping his game also resulted in an unprecedented three UAAP Men’s Basketball Finals Most Valuable Player awards. As Mike Nieto put it:

“Tawag ko nga sa kanya dati ‘Finals-Man’ kasi iba nilalaro niya ‘pag championship namin sa UAAP. Pero ngayon ang tawag ko na sa kanya, Japan-Man!”

The twins and Go will not be far from Ravena.

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While Ravena will be in Japan, the Nietos, Go, and the rest of the Gilas cadets will have year-long overseas camps, according to program director Tab Baldwin.

Though they will no longer be together, the troika will continue to support Ravena — just like the good old times.

“I can’t wait to see him ball over there,” said Go.

“I’m sure he will adjust quickly there. Whatever happens, one-hundred percent lagi ang suporta ko kay Thirds!” expressed Matt.

“Alam ni T-Ravs kung gaano ko siya kamahal and kung gaano ko siya susuportahan, kahit sa’n siya magpunta. Kapatid ko na ‘yan, teammate ko na ‘yan since Grade School. And hopefully maging teammates ulit kami soon,” hopes Mike, as all four of them are part of Gilas’ 2023 training pool.

“I will always be here to support Thirdy!”

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