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    Two years since UAAP duel, Thirdy Ravena, Kobe Paras renew rivalry in Japan

    Oct 8, 2021
    Thirdy Ravena Kobe Paras
    PHOTO: B.League

    GOOD friends Thirdy Ravena and Kobe Paras face off anew this weekend, this time in Japan, as the San-en NeoPhoenix take on the Niigata Albirex BB at Hamamatsu Arena in a two-game homestand.

    The early season clash in the B.League between the Filipino imports comes two years after their last duel in the UAAP when Ravena was still the star at Ateneo and Paras a prized recruit of the UP Maroons.

    That was the final elimination game of UAAP Season 82, with Ravena's Blue Eagles seeking an outright finals berth and Paras' Maroons standing as the final hurdle.

    What was expected to be a tightly contested battle turned into a blowout, with SJ Belangel stealing the show in a 19-2 second-quarter romp that allowed the Blue Eagles to cruise to the 86-64 victory, in the process topping the eliminations with a perfect 14-0 card and booking a guaranteed spot in the finals.

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    They later on disposed of University of Santo Tomas to complete the UAAP three-peat.

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      Ravena had an all-around game marked by 11 points, five assists, four rebounds, and three steals as the likes of Belangel and Ange Kouame took over for the Katipunan side.

      Meanwhile, Paras had to bleed for his 13 points as he was held to a 5-of-15 shooting from the field while also gathering seven boards, two assists, and two blocks in the losing effort for the Fighting Maroons.

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      The Maroons finished as the second seed with their 9-5 card, but squandered their twice-to-beat advantage in the stepladder semis to the Growling Tigers.

      New battleground for pals

      Fast forward to now, the second-generation stars lock horns anew, this time in a brand-new arena.

      Ravena has so far established his spot as a top producer in his sophomore season for San-En, averaging 16.0 points on 40-percent shooting from deep, to go with 6.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists, and 1.0 steal in 32.2 minutes as the NeoPhoenix split their opening weekend assignment against the Shiga Lakestars.

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      Paras wasn't far behind, netting 17.5 points on 44-percent clip from downtown, alongside 2.0 dimes, 1.5 boards, and 1.0 steal in 30.3 minutes of action for Niigata, which split its first two games against the Kyoto Hannaryz.

      And if their past battles were any indication, we're in for a treat.

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        Even Thirdy is already looking ahead for this weekend's war.

        "Kobe has been playing tremendously. He’s been my best friend since we were kids, so I'm definitely excited," he said.

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        PHOTO: B.League
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