THIRDY Ravena, the first Filipino to be signed in the lucrative Japan’s B-League, is finally set to fly to Japan today, his family confirmed yesterday.
The 23-year-old Ravena was supposed to leave last July but the Japanese embassy was closed. Ravena was only allowed to apply for a visa last October 2.
Ravena took a swab test last Tuesday and will expect the results in 48 hours before he leaves for Japan. He hopes to make it just in time for San-En NeoPhoenix’s back-to-back set against Toyama this weekend.
A member of the Gilas Pilipinas pool, the 6-foot-2 Ravena made history as the first player to be signed in the Japanese league’s Asian Player Quota.
The 2020-21 season of the Japan’s B-League opened last Oct. 2 amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ravena’s club was struggling, as SanEn remains winless in four games, losing twice to Chiba and Mikawa.
A last-placed club with a 5-36 record in the coronavirus-shortened 2019-2020 season, Ravena hopes to turn NeoPhoenix around.
The Japan’s B. League 2020-21 season has been reformatted and compressed, where the teams are split into two conferences – the East and West – instead of the usual East-Central-West District format.
San-en, which was in the Central District last year, is with the West Conference. The league aims to finish the season in May 2021 as the pandemic-delayed Tokyo Olympics will open on July 23.
If Ravena performs well in Japan, this will open an alternative career pathway for other young Filipino basketball stars to play in the B-League in the future.