PRIOR to his impressive performance in the FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers against Indonesia, Japan-bound Thirdy Ravena was a part of the Mighty Sports-Philippines squad that emerged triumphant in the 31st Dubai International Basketball Championship last February.
Playing for Mighty Sports in United Arab Emirates motivated Ravena to give it a shot in playing overseas.
"Definitely, I saw what it was like, being on a team na yun nga, maraming imports tapos nakita ko rin yung laro doon sa Middle East, definitely eye-opener kasi nalagay ako sa posisyon na parang bumalik ako, parang naging rookie ulit ako, parang minor minutes tapos role player lang talag. I saw how it was like with the Mighty Sports team," said Ravena during "The Prospects Pod" vodcast Friday night.
The three-time UAAP champion actually played a pivotal role in Mighty Sports' championship-clinching 92-81 win over Al Riyadi of Lebanon, as Ravena scored five of his six points in a late third quarter run to pull away with a 68-51 lead.
Playing against foreign players - whether in domestic or in international play - helped Ravena boosted his confidence heading into his much-anticipant B-League stint for San-En NeoPhoenix.
"Grabe sa totoo lang, laking tulong sila kasi nga it’s a different culture so just hearing them, seeing their interests doon sa different culture na yon, nadedevelop namin, napaguusapan din namin yung culture dito sa Philippines and marami talaga kaming bagay na nagagawa," said the 6-foot-2 shooting guard.
"Kasi kumbaga nakikita mo rin yung mga mindset nila, kung ano yung mga difference ng mindset and nakokopya mo din yung good habits nila so definitely played such a big part in my career and my development as a player," he added.
The past week was a hectic one for Ravena, who last Wednesday became the first Asian player to be signed in the Japanese pro league that opened the doors for other Filipinos to bring their talents in the Land of the Rising Sun.
Despite going to a club that has won only five games in the aborted 2019-20 season, Ravena did not find any difficulty on his decision to play for San-En.
"Hindi naman siya ganon kahirap, we really just wait kung ano talaga yung interest ko and kung anong gustong mangyari so yun yung pinagisipan namin ng agent ko and my mom, my dad also, so yun lang we really didn’t even pick nga if you’re wondering yung highest offer, pero we only picked kung ano talaga yung best fit doon sa hinahanap talaga namin which is yung makakalaro ka and walang expectation kasi ganon nga yung standing so magiimprove na lang kami from there," said Ravena.
Next month, Ravena will begin his professional journey on top of embracing Japanese culture.
"I think I’m gonna talk to coach first, we’ll be talking within the week. Nakausap ko na yung assistant coach. I’m trying, naka-duolingo ako para yung basics, alam mo yun para I can find my way around the city. Yun nga, in love din ako sa Japanese culture talaga to begin with," said Ravena.
"Sa totoo lang gusto ko talaga sa Japan kasi maganda yung history, maganda yung culture nila doon and it’s not really far from the Philippines kaya madaling makapunta sila Mama (Mozzy), sila Papa (Bong), si Manong (Kiefer), si Dani, kapag kunwari alam mo yun mahirap na kasi first time ko din ma-experience to so hindi din mahirapan na baka ma-homesick, ma-lonely ako doon so kakailanganin ko talaga sila, okay din yung proximity in terms of my choice so I took that into consideration din," he added.