TNT Tropang Giga head coach Bong Ravena was excited to watch his son Thirdy Ravena's debut in Japan's B.League. However, a late change in the PBA's schedule meant that TNT's game against the Meralco Bolts would coincide with San-En NeoPhoenix matchup against Shimane.
At the half on TNT-Meralco, the Tropang Giga head coach heard that Thirdy finished with 13 points, 3 rebounds, and 3 assists to help the NeoPhoenix pick up an 83-82 victory. About an hour later, it turned into a double celebration as TNT also emerged victorious, 92-79.
"I just told him to enjoy the game and try to do the little things, especially on defense," said the head coach. "Our game was ongoing but someone told me a lot of people watched and that the comments were all from Filipinos. If it'll be on YouTube, I'll watch it later. I heard he was able to dunk so that's good. We're just hoping for the best for him and that he stays healthy there."
Back in the Quest Hotel, Kiefer Ravena was also locked into the match in full support of his brother.
"I was so proud to see him there. He'll be a trailblazer for other Filipino basketball players who want to pursue an international career," said Kiefer. "It's a good sign that they won their first game and hopefully he continues to play well and stay healthy."
Back in the Ravena household, multiple screens were open to catch both the San-En and TNT games as Mozzy Ravena did her best to stay updated on both.
"I was watching both games because it was Thirdy's first game and TNT also needed to win. My head hurt a little bit after but it was worth it because they both won," said Mozzy. "It's funny because even though we miss the three of them, we don't want them to come back yet because, if they come back too early, that means they're already eliminated."
Despite thousands of kilometers away from her younger son, the matriarch of the Ravena family still knew what kind of support Thirdy needed before his debut.
"I got to talk to him a few hours before the game. I did my best to keep the conversation light because I know he was feeling the pressure. We were just laughing because I was telling him to get up already and prepare for the game. He'll be playing his first game in seventh months, his team has been struggling, and he's there as an import so I knew all of that was weighing him down."
Though there were worries, she knew that Thirdy did his very best to prepare himself for this opportunity.
"I saw the work he did even during the lockdown. He worked out as much as he could so I know he was physically ready but what he went through to get there wasn't easy either," Mozzy said. "As a mother, of course I was also nervous because I want him to do well. It was his first game so I was worried that if he won't play well he'll be sad and alone. But thankfully he played well and they won."
Basketball has always been one of the things that bonded the Ravenas. Now, however, it has brought them apart physically because of the current situation. But in time, in the near (but not too near) future, they will be all together again, sharing a meal at their dining table, and talking about the experiences they each had in the journeys that basketball needed them to make.