A legacy of basketball continues for Thirdy Ravena and Kobe Paras of Junior NBA Philippines

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By Marjorie Gorospe

PASAY CITY, METRO MANILA – Basketball is in their blood but these two young players know that hard work – not simply carrying their fathers’ surnames – is what pays off.

Ferdinand “Thirdy” Ravena and Kobe Lorenzo Paras joined eight more players who make up this year’s Junior NBA Philippines squad.

More than 5000 kids joined this year’s program, trimmed down to 50 players who took part in a national training camp conducted by NBA great AC Green (formerly  with the Los Angeles Lakers) along with US Junior NBA Coach Frank Lopez.

Thirdy and Kobe, along with their teammates, will be rewarded with a chance to watch an NBA game live and play against Jr. NBA teams from other countries.

The five-foot-ten Thirdy, an incoming second year high school student at Ateneo de Manila, is the son of former PBA player Bong Ravena, named the league’s Rookie of the Year in 1992. His older brother Kiefer is a star player for the Ateneo juniors team.

He shares that his father personally trains him and his older brother whenever they have free time together. Having a former PBA great for a father and UAAP a star player as sibling, Thirdy admits feeling some pressure but resolves to focus more on developing his skills as a player.

“I don’t want to think about it much and I am just happy being a son of my father and a brother of Kiefer. I’d like to take it one step at a time and just enjoy playing basketball.”

He adds: “My father would always tell us that the secret to success is hard work and determination. And I know that he will always be supportive to me and my brother and that’s what matters most.”

Kobe, meanwhile, also acknowledges the basketball legacy attached to his surname. His father Benjie was the first and still the only player to win both Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player honors in a single season.

“There are also many kids out there who can play even better so I had to rely on hard work and take my dad as an inspiration,” shares the six-foot-tall player from La Salle Greenhills.

The 13-year-old Kobe says dad  never fails to tell him to have dedication if he wants to succeed as a basketball player.

“Of course, he wants me to do what I really like to do. But I also hope to achieve what he had achieved someday.”

(Additional photos courtesy of Junior NBA Philippines)

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