WITH the signing of Thirdy Ravena, there is no doubt in the mind of a San-en NeoPhoenix official that more Filipinos can play in the Japanese B.League.
Ravena made headlines recently as the first Filipino to sign in Japan for the San-en NeoPhoenix, a team that is looking to turn its fortunes around after a five-win mark in the 2019-2020 season.
San-en NeoPhoenix CEO Kenjiro Hongo believes there will be more Filipinos who will follow suit, especially after he described Ravena’s play to be similar to that of an American.
“I saw the play of most Filipinos. I think that a lot of Filipinos will join the B.League,” said Hongo.
The interest to Filipino players looks mutual to Hongo’s fellow team officials in the Japanese B.League as Phoenix LPG star Calvin Abueva recently received an offer to play there although he didn’t divulge the name of the team.
Ravena’s decision to play in Japan has definitely opened an alternative rout to the professional ranks after the former Ateneo Blue Eagle decided to skip last year’s PBA draft to play overseas.
An offer to play in Japan could definitely be a windfall financially as an average base salary of a B.League player during the 2018-2019 season, according to a report by the Japan Times, is around Y16.1 million or P7.5 million.
Playing alongside former NBA imports and Japan’s best players is also an opportunity that is worth tinkering about once a player goes to Japan to play professional basketball.
The advice of the three-time UAAP finals MVP to someone who will get an offer to play in Japan is simple.
“For me, my biggest advice is to just follow your heart. If you want to really play internationally, pursue that. If your heart is to play in the Philippines, you can do that as well. For me, it’s just a matter of realizing what you want to do in life and where you want to do it. Whatever it may be, just follow it,” said Ravena.