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Kiefer and Thirdy create sibling rivalry in Japan



Imagine a movie flashback scene. Two young brothers – one named Kiefer and the other Thirdy – set off on a makeshift basketball court, hoping to one day succeed in a big professional basketball scene.

The two sons admired their father, Bong Ravena, several times PBA champion. They both dream of following in their father’s footsteps who is the former PBA Rookie of the Year and Most Improved Player winner.

Two decades later, Kiefer and Thirdy now share the limelight playing in the Japan B. League. They are a credit not only to the Ravena family but also to the country as they play there as Asian imports for their respective teams.

Thirdy was the first to succeed in Japan last year when he signed with San-en NeoPhoenix. Kiefer followed suit this year, bringing with him the next wave of Filipino players trying to stand out in Japan like Kobe Paras (Niigata Albirex BB) and Ray Parks (Nagoya Diamond Dolphins), among others.

Kiefer signed up for the Shiga Lakestars and about a week ago both players took center stage as they parted ways from their first two meetings as pros in Japan.

Playing against Kuya Kiefer has always motivated young Thirdy.

He actually had some great shoes to fill for Ateneo when Kiefer became known as “The Phenom” in college basketball and made his mark even before reaching the professional league.

Thirdy captured the limelight a few years later and, in fact, he had eclipsed his brother’s accomplishments.

Young Ravena became a three-time UAAP champion playing for the Ateneo Blue Eagles and in doing so became three-time Finals MVP. He also received the College Basketball MVP Awards two years ago, which also earned him a place in the national Gilas Pilipinas program.

Thirdy couldn’t help but reflect on their humble beginnings and how this sibling rivalry with Kiefer motivated him to become the best version of himself.

“Looking back, you relished those times when you were playing together, barefoot and on a concrete floor. Now you are here in Japan playing professional basketball imported from Asia. You don’t just play for yourself. , but you represent a country and while you play against your brother.It is such a surreal feeling and it is a story worth sharing until I get old and tell my little ones -children, that this is one of the greatest experiences I have had in my life, ”Thirdy said during the zoom press conference for the launch of his documentary presented by VivaMax.

“We both grew up in such a competitive household. I don’t know how to explain it, but we’re really, really competitive, whether it’s little board games at home or one-on-one at the gym. “

For Thirdy, performing on the big stage with his brother gave him extra motivation. He also knew that Kiefer was doing his best to help his team win.

“It really motivated us, especially since we got to do it in a different country, in Japan, in front of a lot of Filipinos who came to watch live. I’m very grateful for them. Most of them came from far away. places and I traveled three, four, five hours just to watch us. And of course to those thousands of people who watched live, thank you. It’s such a crazy feeling you think about just when you were a kid who was growing up to pursue a career in basketball, ”he added.

As professional players in Japan, the brothers knew that they are not only here to make a living from basketball, but they have also become ambassadors for the game, representing the Philippines.

“Well, sure, it’s also a great responsibility and commitment, not just to yourself, but to the game. Coming to the games you represent a country and you have to perform every time you play. You have thousands and thousands of people watching. You have to show up and you have to play to the best of your ability because you don’t mean to say you haven’t done your best, “Thirdy said.

“I just want to say that I did my best, even before the game started I made all the preparations to play this game and show all the advantages I have before this game even started. This will be my commitment and this is what I give every day to the Filipino community and to this organization as well. “

The other Filipinos playing in the Japan B.League are Dwight Ramos (Toyama Grouses), Javi Gomez de Liaño (Ibaraki Robots), Juan Gomez de Liaño (Earthfriends Tokyo Z) and Kemark Carino (Aomori Wat’s).

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