Thirdy Ravena was happy to see his good friend Dwight Ramos on Saturday.
Before the game, the two Ateneo products got a chance to catch up on how Japan has been treating them.
“What we talked about before the game was how happy we are here in Japan,” the San-En NeoPhoenix sophomore said. “He also likes it here since everyone was so welcoming. I am glad that I was able to talk to him.”
But once the game started, the two clashed like they were heated opponents.
By the half, Ravena, who had seven points in the first quarter, helped San-En take a 40-39 lead over Toyama. However, the second half was a whole different story.
“We were overwhelmed by the fouls in the second half,” lamented the 6-foot-3 winger. “Toyama used it to take away our defensive intensity. They knew it and they attacked us.
“That was the biggest difference and we couldn’t bounce back.”
The Grouses were aggressive in penetrating the NeoPhoenix’s fort in the third quarter, grabbing eight fouls during that span that led to nine free throws.
Tentative was San-En’s defense afterward, giving up 32 points in the quarter and allowing the hosts to shoot 68.8-percent from the field.
NeoPhoenix lost the game, 77-92, to fall to 3-10 in the standings.
Ravena and San-En will have a chance for vengeance as they face the same team tomorrow.
And for the three-time UAAP Finals MVP, he hopes they can get the game as the league will head into a two-week break.
“I think the schedule of the B.League is good since, after a loss, we have another match the next day. I hope we can win tomorrow and enter the bye week on a positive note,” said Ravena, who had 13 points and three assists in the loss.
“We will do our best to get tomorrow’s game so that we can enter the bye week with confidence.”
Moreover, Ravena vows that he and Ramos will show the same intensity in their round two clash as this is their way of showing Japan how Filipinos play.
“We were teammates in college and in the national team. I think that playing against each other here in Japan will inspire other Filipinos,” he said. “Like when I played with my brother Kiefer, even if we were teammates before, we will compete on the court.
“Showing that intensity in the game is our way of representing our country.”