TO play beyond borders has always been the Ravena family’s big dream. Just a few days ago, Thirdy finally made it happen as he joins Japanese team San-en NeoPhoenix as an import in the decorated Japan B. League.
Thirdy’s younger sister and favorite ‘frenemy’ Dani Ravena bares the decision was a big leap of faith for her kuya and for the whole family.
“Everyone in the family dreams of playing abroad to experience the sports scene there —to know how different basketball is in other countries. In Japan, kuya thinks it’s a really big program. And I think he's made history just being a part of it," the Ateneo libero told SPIN Life.
As one of the most prominent family of athletes in the country, the Ravenas have always been supportive of one another, showing up constantly to watch each other’s games. Dani added: “Leaving the country, it’s quite a difficult call for him. Kasi sa family namin, for years, we’re always together.”
But it's not the first time one of them is leaving home to chase overseas dream. Older brother Kiefer had a stint with the Texas Legends in the NBA G League years ago.
“I feel like that’s the sacrifice [Thirdy] has to make to eventually become a better player with this experience. It’s going to be hard, sa language barrier din, and not having us by his side physically,” Dani said.
But fret not, Thirdy. Dani promises you’ll feel the same support, even if they're miles away.
“We’ll make it to the point na mararamdaman niya pa rin ‘yung nandito kami kahit malayo. We’ll always make sure he’s gonna be okay and he’s treated well. But for kuya, I really think this would be a great opportunity for him to be really independent all by himself,” she added.
The 20-year-old also said that even though Thirdy’s not leaving until next month, their parents, Bong and Mozzy, are already planning the future situation for their family.
“When Manong [Kiefer] also went to the States dati after he graduated, my mom visit[ed] him and stay[ed] with him for two weeks, ganon. I think they’re planning to do that as well when kuya leaves,” she said.
Knowing her kuya by heart, Dani also said that she thinks Thirdy can adapt to his new environment well, given his very good social skills.
“We want the best for kuya, the good thing about him, magaling siya mag-adjust, he’s very social, not really shy. More than anything madaldal siya. I don’t think he’s gonna have a hard time adjusting,” Dani added. “If anything happens, we’re just one call away.”
More than anything else, according to Dani, Thirdy wants to represent the country well in the international stage. He knows how big is basketball in the Philippines and wants to show the world what Filipinos are capable of.
“He’s really determined to show The Filipino basketball to everyone — that in the Philippines, you can also be good players too. ‘Yun yung nakakapagpa-motivate sa kanya. Every day, I see him practicing talaga, doing fitness and shooting,” she said.
She also revealed Thirdy's been cooking this plan long before he even graduated Ateneo.
"Back in college pa talaga niya gusto 'yan, and as far as I know, of all the teams that tapped him, not just Japanese teams, ito 'yung pinili niya," Dani said. "I'm very proud of kuya for making this decision. We want the best for him."