October 8, 2022
San-En Neophoenix 76 - 57 Levanga Hokkaido
October 9, 2022
San-En Neophoenix 93 - 80 Levanga Hokkaido
(Thirdy Ravena: TR) Yeah, I mean, the coaching staff, they just bring a lot of experience, winning experience. They know how to win. They've proven it. They've won the championship. So all you have to do as players is to follow, especially for someone like me who has the same goal of winning a championship and bringing it to NEOPHOENIX. I just follow Coach. He's placed a tremendous amount of trust and patience in me, and I really want to reward that by playing hard and just doing whatever it takes to help the team win. So I think it's really his patience and his experience and his trust in me that really helps me be a better player on the court.
(TR) I think we're more intentional with what we do, really trying to focus on all the little things that we need to do in order to win. The intensity at the start of the game, I mean, the whole game and all the details in the game. We really try to focus on the small things. And I think that's one of the things that I had to focus on this season. So it's really more intentional making the little things, being on the help side with the new defense that we have. I have to adjust to the defense that we have because it's not your usual basketball defense and basketball fundamentals, the defensive fundamentals on your usual teams. So this is really the details. I think that's the biggest thing, and that's how I would describe our team. It's more intentional, especially with the details.
(TR) I don't know if I would consider myself to be in that situation, but. The beautiful thing about this team is that we have a lot of guys who can actually play and a lot of guys who would rise up to the occasion. We have different guys. First game, someone would play well. The next game, another person would play well, and so on and so forth. You never really know who's going to step up in that game. And that's what makes it hard for teams I guess, to know which personnel to defend or what kind of defense they should run. And that's the beauty of our team. We don't really pick a guy who, when we're in the clutch, this is who we give it to. It's usually the guy who's in the zone, who's in his groove during that game, and we just try to set him up. Just like today, Kazuki was on fire, so we just kept looking for him every time he's outside and just try to milk the most out of his high percentage in this game. So we always just focus on who we can trust in that particular situation based on how they're playing in the particular game.
(TR) I guess it's more of a natural thing, just looking at the match ups and seeing who we can guard or who is in our position or who we can play to be as efficient as possible. And at this game, we felt like it was an easy decision that guard wise, since we're both pretty much the same size and I know how he plays. He's a great player, so I think it's just a decision that we make on the spot, and it's not really much out of the system thing.
(TR) When you're on the court doesn't matter if he is filipino or not, it's always about going head to head with whoever you're going up against, seeing if you have an advantage. Of course, it's a little bit of an additional motivation to play harder, but we should play hard every single game. For me, it's just when we're on the court, we forget that we're brothers. We play as players, and we just enjoy after the game, before the game, and we leave it out on the floor. Yes, well, we just talk about how he's doing, how he likes the team and how he likes his city, knowing that he moved to Hokkaido this season. And we talked about the national team, the upcoming window, and just catching up as friends, like how we would catch up when we're in the Philippines and just enjoying each other's company for the meantime, before the game, before we start getting serious, just to try to talk it out as brothers.
(TR) Seeing my Filipino brothers here just brings me closer to home. Reminds me of home and makes me feel at home whenever I'm with them. So, yeah, I mean, there's the closest thing to home for me, so it's always a great opportunity, it's always a great feeling to see them and play with them too.
(TR) Probably make my layups. I've had a couple of easy shots today that I unfortunately missed, but other than that, I don't really care if I miss or if I make it, as long as we win. We all enjoy, that's what matters. But if there's one thing I can improve, just trying to slow the game down a little bit more. Sometimes I get carried away and make things too fast for my own teammates. Just that and play harder.