SMART CLARK GIGA CITY–Although in different timezones and thousands of miles apart, the basketball DNA of the Ravena family is in full display Saturday night.
TNT coach Bong Ravena could not be more proud about his son Thirdy’s victorious debut in Japan’s B.League.
Thirdy, the first-ever Filipino player to suit up as an Asian import in the Japanese top division, racked up 13 points, three rebounds and three assists in San-En Neophoenix’s 83-82 win against Shimane Susanoo Magic at the Matsue City Gymnasium.
The 23-year-old combo guard introduced himself with a vicious two-handed slam before proving to be instrumental in the fourth quarter where he poured eight markers.
Although he was not able to watch Thirdy’s game live as he was busy serving his duty in the Tropang Giga’s 92-79 win over the Meralco Bolts at the AUF Arena, Bong was glad of his son’s performance.
“I’m just happy. Wishing him all the best and hopefully they’ll win some more games,” said Bong, who learned the victory of Thirdy and his team from his other son and NLEX guard Kiefer.
The Ravena patriarch said he was able to talk with Thirdy two days before his debut and offered him some advice.
“Natawagan ko siya, nakausap ko siya. Nagsabi lang ako sa kanya na, ‘Just keep working hard and make everybody proud. Just enjoy your game and make all the Filipinos really proud.’”
“Kailangan niya lang muna i-enjoy ‘yung laro and then do the little things especially on defense. ‘Yun lang naman ang lagi kong bilin ko sa kanya. ‘Wag siya masyado mag-relax especially on defense and enjoy the game.”
The 50-year-old mentor was also happy that thousands of Filipinos followed Thirdy’s first game through online platforms and were even active in expressing their support for the former Ateneo stalwart.
“Nakakatuwa naman na na-entertain sila doon. It’s a good thing.”