Thirdy Ravena had only trained with San-En for just one week.
Still, the 23-year-old Asian import — despite playing just his first professional game — proved to the entire NeoPhoenix organization that he has what it takes to turn the team around.
But prior to this game, San-En’s Serbian head coach Branislav Vićentić had to prepare Ravena mentally for his debut against Shinsane.
Vićentić has been unable to teach Ravena his entire system yet, since the former Atenean forward only arrived in Japan last October 16 and had to complete a 14-day room quarantine. But the 49-year-old tactician made sure to let him know that he will be a pivotal player in his rotation.
“We talked about how he is one of the excellent players we have,” bared Vicentic.
“We talked a lot because I know he can affect our game better.”
Ravena’s first few minutes in the league showed what he can do.
His first point came via a free throw. Then just four minutes into his first game, he threw down a soft two-handed jam that drew claps from the road crowd inside Yonago Industrial Gymnasium.
Though his second and third quarter output were silent, Ravena made up for it in the final frame.
Holding on to a 63-62 lead entering the fourth quarter, Ravena took over, overpowering his defender to get to the paint. The Gilas cadet scored eight points in a span of five minutes to put his side up 77-69.
The Serbian then had to bench Ravena as he was huffing and puffing.
San-En was able to escape the jaws of defeat with an 83-82 victory to notch its second win in 11 games.
“He was good. I’m so happy he has debuted. He’s one of the reasons why we won,” he said.
Ravena tallied 13 points, three rebounds, and two assists in 21 minutes and 44 seconds of action.
“He was under pressure, first professional game, he still showed everything.”