The PBA remains very much a part of Thirdy Ravena’s plans.
The 24-year-old himself declared that, even if he won’t play in Asia’s pioneering pro league in the foreseeable future after signing a multi-year extension with San-en NeoPhoenix in the Japan B.LEAGUE earlier this May.
“Never naman pong mawawala ‘yung PBA para sa’kin.
“Kasi, I don’t think my career would be fulfilling if I don’t play in the PBA,” the 24-year-old Ateneo product, who is the son of former pro Bong Ravena, told The Chasedown on One PH, Saturday afternoon.
Ravena was actually expected to enter the 2019 PBA Draft after a stellar collegiate career with Ateneo. He helped the Blue Eagles win three straight UAAP titles — bagging as many Finals MVP awards in the process.
That, however, didn’t happen. And the following year, he blazed a trail when he signed up with San-en through the B.LEAGUE’s Asian Player Quota system. Ravena then became the first Filipino to play in Japan’s top-flight cage league.
Now he’s about to become a fixture in the Japanese hoops scene for a few more years after inking an extension. For Ravena, it wasn’t a difficult decision to stay since he wants to return the generosity of the ball club.
What he appreciates the most is that San-en keeps the faith in him. This, despite the many setbacks he suffered in his first season — from testing positive for COVID-19 to a fractured right hand that caused him to miss many games.
“It’s really the appreciation and the love that I feel from the club kahit na marami akong pinagdaanan. Even though it was easy for them to be like, ‘Ay nako, injury-prone ‘yan. ‘Wag na natin kunin,'” the 6-foot-2 swingman said.
“Pero itong team na ‘to talagang tinanggap ako, and they even gave me a chance — and a lot of chances, as a matter of fact, kasi multi-year [deal] siya. So I’m very happy with that.”
Still, many anticipate when Ravena will finally strut his stuff in the PBA. Asked if he follows some sort of a timeline for his budding career, the second-generation cager said that he simply goes “wherever basketball takes me.”
“As far as basketball is concerned, in my career, I just go wherever basketball takes me eh. Wala akong parang specific date na, ‘Ah, in five years, dito ako maglalaro. And then two years after that, dito naman ako,’” he said.
“Ngayon I’m just focused on the next couple of years with Neophoenix, and of course the 2023 World Cup as well. I mean, if there are things na talagang pinaghahandaan ko for the future, it’s really those two things. ‘Yun lang po talaga ‘yung main goal ko as of now.”