Game 1: 20:33 MINS | 15 PTS | 6 REBS | 7 ASTS | 2 STLS
Game 2: 24:25 MINS | 2 PTS | 6 REBS | 5 ASTS
After 8 consecutive losses, you won two games against KYOTO in their home. How big is this for the team?
(Thirdy Ravena: TR) Well, after a long wait, a long time of losing, you know getting that win finally is a big weight off of our shoulders. You know, there's a lot of pressure, especially with how we started in the season. We started off really well, expectations were high, but then injuries happen, but now we're slowly trying to get that groove back and I can never be any more proud of the team. And we don't really try to look at the playoffs right away. We take it one game at a time. So I'm just happy that we were able to have that mentality of taking it one game at a time. And I think that's what got us the win is to just focus on the current game and the results will follow.
What was the adjustments made after the 2Q?
(TR) Yeah, it was a pretty tough start for us. They got a big lead at the first quarter. But coach just mentioned before the game started, he just told us to play our role just like what we talked about earlier. Injuries happen and people tend to try and do something that is out of their playing style to make up for the injuries. But coach just told us to just play our game and play our hardest. That's one way we could really fill those gaps is if we do things that we're strong at extraordinarily well and that's how we're going to make up for the injuries. So I think that we had that mindset coming into the second quarter and I think it just followed through with the second half, which we played amazing. Everybody did their roles, everybody was doing their thing and the game just followed and it just opened up the game for us. We got a good lead. We were able to maintain it. So I think that's just what we did. Just play our role.
You had 5 assists and quarter-closing runner in 3Q and it looked like you changed into offensive mode. What was your mentality in 3Q?
(TR) Well you know, came in the game pretty sloppy. Had a couple turnovers at the start of the game, and my shots weren't falling in, you know? But I just wanted to control the things that I can control, which is to play hard defense and do things where I think I'm pretty good at, which is to try and find my teammates, try and look for them. I know they try to guard my penetration. They know I'm going to try and take it hard to the basket. So I know that for a fact and I try to use that as bait to set up the bigs, which DG, Daniel played really good. He had a lot of dunks, a lot of rebounds, and it's just a matter of getting them the confidence that they need by setting them up, setting our shooters up and that's one way that the game opens up for me to take the ball to the rim, which is my strength. So yeah, I mean, my mentality is to just control the things I can control. Even if the shots aren't falling in, I can play hard defense, I can continue to set my teammates up. And I think that really helped us, especially in the third quarter.
With a more concrete lineup moving forward, how confident are you that the team can make up for lost ground as you try to stay in playoff contention?
(TR) Well there are some things that you really just can't control, just like injuries. No one wants that to happen, but we have to play with the cards that we've been dealt with, no matter what happens. I think our biggest strength in the team is each other. So no matter who's injured, we all know we're going to try and make up for the injuries and play harder and just wait for the guys to get back, because we know when they get back, they're going to do the same thing. And just like today, this weekend when Kosuke went back, he was such a big difference for us. Made a lot of shots, and I'm just amazed at how he was able to bounce back coming out a couple of weeks and display as if he didn't get injured. So such a big help for us, and we're just going to try and work harder and fill in those gaps that were left out with the injuries and just try as hard as we can because you know, that's how we win games, just by working our butts off.
It seemed that veteran #32 Yamauchi set the pace in 3Q. How big is it to have a veteran player like Yamauchi?
(TR) He's big time. You know, not a lot of people see that. People tend to look at, you know, the highlights and the score, whoever makes the basket, but they don't realize the kind of impact players like he has on the court and trying to settle everything down, trying to control the game. When the stakes are high and the other team is making a couple of runs, we always need that guy that would a point guard like him that would really try and balance everything out, make everybody relax, try to control the pace of the game, and make good decisions down the stretch. So I got to give him credit. People don't give him credit, the credit that he deserves, especially with what he did today, and really tried to control the game. So hats off to HISA. He did a really good job for us.
How was it to have over 200 Filipinos at the venue tonight?
(TR) It feels amazing. Feels surreal. Whenever I see Filipinos on the court, you know, I didn't expect this much people to show up, and it just warms my heart and just makes me want to play harder, and it gives me a reason to keep pushing myself because we're not in our country. We're in a foreign country, and a lot of us are alone most of the time, so we tend to seek inspiration from other Filipinos as well. And for them to tell me that they look up to me and that my game affects how they deal with loneliness and hard times out here in Japan. It just gives me more motivation to just push myself to do it. Not for myself, but for the people who are here in Japan who are working nine to five, who are working without their families. So it means a lot.
You have your family in Japan, for the first time since being a player here. Can you describe what that feels like for you since you have been playing in Japan the longest?
(TR) Well, it's such a great feeling. It's amazing. Christmas is big for us Filipinos, and it's a time where families come together for us. So for them, for my family, to be able to go here on my birthday and Christmas season just means the world to me. It really inspires me a lot to keep working and make the holidays warmer. It's getting cold right now, but I'm very happy that they're here. It's been two and a half years, but I haven't seen them here in Japan, so it's such a great feeling to have them here.
This is a little bit personal, but what was your plan for family gathering?
(TR) Well, when they came here, they stayed with me for a little bit and Toyohashi. I picked them up from the airport, and it's just a matter of them trying to balance out the time with my brother and me, because yesterday they were at the Shiga game, and today they watched my game in Kyoto, and later we're going to be celebrating as a family. It's their first time together here in Japan, so it's a nice feeling to have them out here in the Christmas season. And also shout out to Matt. Who made it possible they got him tickets to the game. So just got to thank Matt for that.
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