ATENEO de Manila University head coach Tab Baldwin perceives Thirdy Ravena’s pivot to the Japanese B.League as “very clever.”
Baldwin, 62, who coached Ravena through three straight University Athletic Association of the Philippines men’s basketball titles for the Blue Eagles, told The Manila Times on Monday in a phone interview that the 6’3” swingman has made himself more marketable internationally.
“You know, I think Thirdy put himself into a very good situation to improve as a player. And I know his primary goal right now is to build a reputation for himself and try to make himself more marketable, which I think is very clever,” said Baldwin.
“He (Ravena) is going to play for ‒ by reputation ‒ a very tough Serbian coach who, you know, obviously is successful,” expounded Baldwin, referring to San-en NeoPhoenix Serbian coach Branislav Vicentic. “You get a job in Japan Division 1; you’re going to have a successful track record behind you.”
Baldwin, who is also the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) program director and a former Gilas coach, said the Japan B.League is highly competitive with a powerhouse mix of ex-National Basketball Association players and Asian imports.
“I do think so. I think that it is a very, very tough league. It is a long league you know, and they play a lot of games,” he affirmed.
He also believes that in the years to come, the Philippines would produce more talent that could play for the Japanese league, which offers lucrative contracts to foreign players.
“You know, I think the Philippines has never had a problem producing talents. And [Filipino athletes] have been in that many opportunities to export their talent,” envisions Baldwin, who saw New Zealand all the way to the 2004 Athens Olympics.
“We’re going to be foolish if we thought that no players [would be recruited] because I just don’t know where else the Japanese league or the Asian league, the Chinese league will get their players. I mean, they can pirate from one another. But outside those countries, I think the Philippines is producing [the] most talents,” he concluded.