Thirdy has PBA blessing to play in Japan, but not forever | Inquirer Sports

Thirdy has PBA blessing to play in Japan, but not forever

By: - Reporter / @cedelfptINQ
/ 05:20 AM June 26, 2020

Photo by Tristan Tamayo/

MANILA, Philippines–The PBA sees no complications with the decision of amateur star Thirdy Ravena to suit up as an Asian import for San-en NeoPhoenix in the Japanese BLeague, at least for the next two years.

Although he skipped the PBA Draft last year with an eye on a move overseas, Ravena personally met with PBA commissioner Willie Marcial way before all of this to seek his permission on his plans.


“I don’t have a problem with his move because he asked for our permission,” Marcial said in Filipino. “He went to our office to personally inform me even before the draft deadline [last year]. But, ultimately, the board will decide on that.”

Skipping the draft again after two years in which one becomes eligible will be another matter, Marcial said. And when that time frame elapses, he would again have to seek the approval of the PBA if he still has plans of someday playing in Asia’s pioneering professional league.


Ravena’s move could open doors for other aspirants in the country to try their luck in Japan, although a PBA rule states that players who are eligible for the draft can’t pass on it for two years or face a ban or suspension.

San-en, which is based in Shizuoka, which is just two hours away from the Japanese capital of Tokyo, made Ravena the first Filipino import in the BLeague by signing the former Ateneo star to a one-season deal. The BLeague and the club jointly announced the acquisition on Wednesday.

While Ravena will be out of the PBA, the three-time Finals most valuable player in the UAAP said that he will be available for national duty even if the BLeague would run for eight months a year.

As long as he is well taken care of by his team in Japan, Marcial said the league is happy for Ravena.

“His future is also our priority here in the PBA,” Marcial said.

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TAGS: Japanese BLeague, San-en NeoPhoenix, Thirdy Ravena
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