By JONAS TERRADO
The matchup between brothers Thirdy and Kiefer Ravena this afternoon highlights the start of the much-anticipated Japanese stints of Filipino players in the 2021-22 B.League season.
Thirdy hopes to begin his second season with the San-En Neophoenix on a high note as they visit Kiefer and the Shiga Lakestars to open their two-game weekend series at 5:05 p.m. local time (4:05 p.m. Philippine time).
Fellow second generation players Kobe Paras and Ray Parks Jr. and lefty shooter Juan Gomez de Liano will also see action as part of a busy first weekend for Japan’s professional league.
Paras will get a chance to become the first Filipino to play in the B.League season as Niigata Albirex hosts the Kyoto Hannaryz at 2:05 p.m. (1:05 p.m. Philippine time) while Parks debuts for the Nagoya Diamond Dolphins opposite the Shibuya Sun Rockers in Tokyo at 6 p.m (5 p.m. Philippine time).
Gomez de Liano suits up for Earthfriends Tokyo Z in the league’s second division in a road game against the Kagawa Five Arrows also at 6 p.m. (5 p.m. Philippine time).
Dwight Ramos of the Tokyo Grouses, Javi Gomez de Liano of the Ibaraki Robots and Kemark Carino of second division side Aomori Wat’s will not see action this weekend as they are under quarantine following their arrival from Manila a few days ago.
Attention will be on the Ravena-Ravena encounter slated to be shown back home through cable channel Tap Sports and its online streaming through the Tap Go app.
Thirdy is eager to make up for his maiden campaign last season that was limited to just 18 games due to a COVID-19 infection, a fractured right finger and an injury on his left knee.
He’ll be of the few holdovers from last season’s roster as San-En made numerous roster changes, including the signing of new imports Robert Carter, Justin Knox and Elias Harris.
His older brother, on the other hand, can now have a peace of mind after months of trying to secure a release from the PBA and his club NLEX Road Warriors.
Kiefer was supposed to finish his Philippine Cup campaign with the Road Warriors but was given the green light to start his B.League stint.