By Mark Angelo Mañez


Former three-time UAAP Most Valuable Player Thirdy Ravena remains with the San-En NeoPhoenix after signing a multi-year contract with the Japanese B.League team, Monday.

Ravena thanked the organization for the trust and support given since suiting up with the club. "It was indeed a tough time for me last season, having to miss a lot of games and not being able to help the team as much as I want," said Ravena in a statement.

"But despite that, it was all love from the NeoPhoenix club and boosters which was why it wasn't hard for me to make this decision. I'm excited for the next coming years with this club," he continued.

The contract, will last for multiple years, although financial terms remain undisclosed as of press time.

Numerous issues arose throughout his rookie stint, including a lengthy visa application, diagnosed with COVID-19, and injuries failed to maximize his potential to contribute to the team.

The former Ateneo Blue Eagle made history last year as the first-ever Asian Quota import in the ever-growing Japanese league.

In 18 games with the NeoPhoenix, Ravena piled up considerable numbers, averaging 9.1 points (36% FG shooting), 3.6 rebounds and 1.6 assists in nearly 23 minutes of action per game.

Despite the numbers, San-En only finished ninth in the West District with a 12-47 record to show.

Nonetheless, they remained optimistic and still set big expectations for the 24-year-old in their renewed partnership.

"Although the results were not satisfactory, he has adapted well to life in Japan and as a professional player. We have high expectations for his further development. With Ravena at the center of the team, we will build a new culture and strive to become champions," expressed team president Kenjiro Hongo.

For his part, team general manager Hideki Higashi mentioned his aggresive play was something that no one else could imitate. "I am confident that he will tear apart the opposing team to lead his team to victory," he added.

"Together with Thirdy, San-En NeoPhoenix will aim to become a champion and inspire not only the people of their home country, but also the Filipino people living in the San-En region," Higashi continued.