17 February, 2020
28 August, 2021
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Thirdy can't wait for more Ravena bros connections as part of Gilas

JAKARTA (Indonesia) - Abraham Damar Grahita found himself in a difficult situation midway through the 3rd quarter. He was left back-pedaling ar the free-throw line with both Kiefer and Thirdy Ravena charging towards him.

Abu Tratter was also sprinting along the left-wing for the Philippines. Still, everyone - including Grahita - knew where the ball was going to end up on this play.

Thirdy, who was bringing the ball up on the right-wing, shovel-passed the ball to his older brother in the middle lane. Without hesitation or even taking a pause, Kiefer caught the pass in stride and lobbed a pass into the air.

Grahita knew it was coming; he reacted in the correct direction of the lob nearly immediately as it left Kiefer’s hand. But it was too late.

There was no stopping this.

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Thirdy caught the ball mid-air and glided towards the hoop. Grahita was already too slow to contest the attempt and was caught an arm’s length under Thirdy. A foul was called as Thirdy placed the ball off the glass into the basket.

The Ravena connection was complete.

Big brother Kiefer hopped into the air as he saw his little brother finish the play and celebrated the acrobatic finish with some small tippy-toe jumps. It’s been a while - 5 years as Thirdy later recalled - since the last time the two played as teammates and they were enjoying the moment.

“It feels good, definitely,” Thirdy said after the win, referring to his feelings of playing with his brother.

“It makes me feel more comfortable being on the team, especially with my brother as the captain. He just prepped me pretty good, basically doing his part as a captain and making everyone else - not just me - feel comfortable around the team and try just to do our job.”

The Philippines indeed were comfortable and did their job by beating Indonesia, 100-70. It took late second-half surge to seal the deal, but the victory was theirs to claim.

A large part of the credit goes to Thirdy. The alley-oop play was his 11th and 12th points of the game, just surpassing the halfway total of his game-high 23 points. The 23-year-old also had 8 rebounds, 2 monster blocks, and 3 three-pointers that even had Indonesia head coach Rajko Toroman shaking his head.

Big brother Kiefer sure did prepare young Thirdy well. He’s been doing that for nearly his whole life.

“Definitely feels good to play with him again after years of waiting,” expressed Thirdy. “I can’t wait to play with him some more because I look up to him, and he’s basically one of the people that really guided me growing up and playing basketball.”

“He really taught me how to play the sport.”

The Ravenas are three years apart and were one of the more impressive sibling duos playing in the first window of the FIBA Asia Cup 2021 Qualifiers. For fans of the Philippines, this has been a highly anticipated on-court pairing for a long time. Both are considered among one of the best players of their age, leading their alma mater to great success in their respective stints.

Nonetheless, it did take a while for this connection to be completed.

Both played for the senior national team during the World Cup 2019 Asian Qualifiers, though Kiefer saw his time only in the early rounds. Thirdy eventually made his senior national team debut in the Asian Qualifiers as well, but it well late in the last window.

Kiefer returned to the court for the Philippines at the World Cup, but Thirdy did not make the final cut for the roster despite being among one of those considered.

It wasn’t until the Asia Cup Qualifiers that the two brothers were finally reunited on the hardwood. By the looks of it, it surely doesn’t seem like this will be the last time fans see them both play together.

Thirdy is hoping that it won’t be either.

“I can’t wait to learn from him and learn from coach Mark and everyone else in the coaching staff. It’s a great feeling to have him again as a teammate.”