There are a lot of things in common between Thirdy Ravena and Marck Espejo.
They both are products of Ateneo de Manila University. They have won three UAAP championships and three Most Valuable Player plums.
Ravena and Espejo also led the Cignal franchise to championships in the D-League and Spikers’ Turf tournaments, respectively.
Now, both can say that they have become imports in Japan.
Upon learning that Ravena has signed with San-En for its 2020-21 B.League campaign, Espejo — the import of Oita Miyoshi in the V.Premier League from 2018-19 — felt happy for his good friend.
“Nare-recognize na Philippines para kunan ng imports. Hindi lang sa volleyball or football, kundi sa basketball na rin. Sobrang happy kasi nao-open na up na ‘yung opportunity sa ating mga Pinoy na kaya pala nating maglaro abroad,” said Espejo.
Before Espejo came in, Oita was just making its comeback to the premier league. Espejo could not lead the Weisse Adler to the top six, though, as his side only managed to rack up a 4-23 slate.
Ravena has the same task with San-En, which is coming off a horrid 5-36 campaign last year.
And so Espejo is offering this advice to his fellow Team Pilipinas brother.
“Bilang naging foreign player din ako, advice ko na kailangan niya alagaan ‘yung katawan niya kasi iyon ang puhunan niya dun.
“Problem din ng ibang foreign player ang home-sickness, and ayon, nakaka-apekto sa performance. Hopefully, kayanin niya ang malayo sa family. Pero knowing Thirdy, kayang-kaya niya ‘yan and galingan niya sa Japan para marami pang teams or clubs abroad ang makakita sa kanya. Good luck sa kanya, OBF,” shared Espejo.