Paras hit 21 points at the expense of NeoPhoenix, taking first blood, 77-64, during their debut matchup on Saturday. But Ravena was quick with the payback the following day, as his team escaped Paras and the rest of Niigata, 85-82.
Despite going at it from the opposite sides of the court in Japan, the two have a very deep friendship stretching back years.
"Kobe and I, we go way back. We have been teammates since we were nine, we played each other in the UAAP. We have been friends for a long time," Ravena shared. "Kaya talagang masaya and exciting sa feeling na nagkalaban na kami."
Kobe Paras, Thirdy Ravena: A shared history
The two were teammates in La Salle Greenhills back in elementary school. Then, when Paras got back from the States, he suited up for the University of the Philippines while Ravena led Ateneo in the UAAP.
And before they scored their Japan stints, they trained together under the True Focus basketball clinic of Jolo Tamayo. Months before they left for Japan, they also hit the hardcourt together across many training sessions.
In the B.League leaderboards, Ravena has an average of 16 points, six rebounds, three assists while Paras records 17 points, two assists, and 1.5 boards, as the season progresses.
A close race... but Thirdy can't help but commend his old pal.
After all, Paras has had a rollercoaster of a career so far, with uneventful stops in UCLA, Creighton, and Cal State Northridge, when he tried his luck in the States a couple of years back.
"Kobe has gone through so much in his life and I’m really happy to see were he’s at right now," Ravena said of his friend. "Hopefully, it's something the Filipino people can be proud of."
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