July 22, 2024

TRACKER: Where to next for these Filipino Asian Quota Players?

TRACKER: Where to next for these Filipino Asian Quota Players?
Let’s run down the key Filipino free agents and track where they land next. Photos (c) B.League and EASL

The 2024 offseason should be a key turning point for Filipinos in the Asian Player Quota program in both Japan’s B.League and Korea’s KBL.

A number of key players have entered free agency, and options are aplenty for most of them, including signing to different teams in Japan and Korea.

Of course, the option of coming home to the Philippines now loom as a possibility as well.

Let’s run down the key Filipino free agents and track where they land next.

 

THIRDY RAVENA | Previous team: San-en NeoPhoenix  2023-24 season stats: 12.6 points, 5.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists

 

 

 

For the first time in his professional career, Thirdy Ravena is a free agent after playing four seasons with the San-en NeoPhoenix.

[Related: Thirdy Ravena enters B.League free agency, to leave San-en NeoPhoenix after four seasons]

Thirdy leaves the team after a breakout year that saw him average a career-high in points, win a franchise-record 16 straight games, win the Central Conference Championship, and win the inaugural Impressive Asia Player of the Year award.

However, Ravena’s season ended in disappointment as the NeoPhoenix got swept out of the B1 Playoffs by eventual champions Hiroshima Dragonflies.

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KIEFER RAVENA | Previous team: Shiga Lakes | 2023-24 season stats: 12.4 points, 2.8 rebounds, 5.5 assists

 

 

Just like his younger brother Thirdy, Kiefer Ravena is entering free agency after three seasons in Shiga.

[Related: B.LEAGUE: Kiefer Ravena enters free agency after B2 title with Shiga]

The previous season was a true test for Kiefer and the Lakes after they got demoted to the B.League’s second division. However, the “Get Back!” was swift and impressive, as Shiga won the B2 championship to earn a promotion.

In particular, Ravena was sensational in the playoffs, averaging 19 points to guide the Lakes to the title.

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(Updated - June 14)

New team: Yokohama B-Corsairs (B1)

 

Kiefer Ravena's new team in his return to the B1 is set. Ravena will be with the Yokohama B-Corsairs, replacing Kai Sotto as the team's Asian Quota Player.

[Related: Kiefer Ravena stays put in Japan, teams up with B. League MVP Yuki Kawamura in Yokohama B-Corsairs]

Ravena signing with the B-Corsairs also means teaming up with former MVP and national team star Yuki Kawamura, creating a potent backcourt duo as Yokohama looks to return to the B1 playoffs in the 2025 season after missing out in 2024.

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KAI SOTTO | Previous team: Yokohama B-Corsairs | 2023-24 season stats: 12.8 points, 6.4 rebounds, 1.1 blocks

 

 

 

Kai Sotto missed the first half of the season due to a back injury. Still, once the Kaiju was active, he had his best statistical season as a pro, setting numerous personal achievements.

[Related: Kai Sotto enters B.League free agency as loan period with Yokohama ends]

With the B-Corsairs, Kai’s budding partnership with 2023 MVP Yuki Kawamura was a sight to behold, and would definitely be something to look forward to again next season if they would run it back.

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(Updated - June 21)

New team: Koshigaya Alphas (B1)

 

 

For their official debut in Japan's B1, the Koshigaya Alphas are making a splash by bringing in Kai Sotto.

Koshigaya finished the last B2 regular season with a 35-25 record, allowing them to make the Playoffs where they upset the 56-4 Altiri Chiba in the semifinals, granting the team promotion to the first division, alongside the Shiga Lakes.

[Related: B.League: Kai Sotto remains in Japan, joins Koshigaya Alphas for 2024-25 season]

The Alphas are coached by Ryuzo Anzai, who lead the Utsunomiya Brex to the 2022 B1 title.

"Coming from B2 I know this team wants to prove that they belong in the B1 so I’m really up for the challenge to help this team win games and reach the next level," said Kai on the team announcement of his move.

 

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MATTHEW WRIGHT | Previous team: Kyoto Hannaryz | 2023-24 season stats: 13.1 points, 3.0 rebounds, 3.2 assists

 

 

 

Easily among the most consistent Filipino Asian Quota Players in the B.League, Matthew Wright is a free agent after two seasons in Kyoto.

[Related: Matthew Wright, AJ Edu enter B.League free agency]

While his points and assists were slightly down this past season, Wright set multiple milestones in Kyoto, including hitting his B1 career-high of 37 points and a pro career-high of eight triples made.

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(Updated - June 26)

New team: Kawasaki Brave Thunders (B1)

 

After two seasons in Kyoto, Matthew Wright is moving on to play with the Kawasaki Brave Thunders, a perennial contender in the B1.

[Related: Matthew Wright signs with a perennial B.League contender in the Kawasaki Brave Thunders]

However, Wright's arrival coincides with a time of transition for the Brave Thunders, as the team lost long-time anchor Nick Fazekas to retirement, and 2022 MVP Yuma Fujii to free agency.

Still, Wright should help Kawasaki get back to contending ways, with the Brave Thunders looking to re-enter the B1 playoffs after missing out for the first time last year.

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AJ EDU | Previous team: Toyama Grouses | 2023-24 season stats: 13.1 points, 8.9 rebounds, 1.4 assists

Team struggles aside, AJ Edu had a strong and promising start to his professional career in the B.League.

However, Edu can’t quite escape the injury bug, as a knee injury sidelined him for the rest of the season after only playing 14 games for Toyama.

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(Updated - July 3)

New team: Nagasaki Velca (B1)

 

AJ Edu is staying put in Japan.

[Related: AJ Edu stays in Japan, joins Nagasaki Velca in B1]

The Gilas Pilipinas big man now joins a new team after spending one season with the Toyama Grouses for his first year as a pro.

In Toyama, he averaged 13.1 points and 8.9 rebounds in 14 games before suffering a season-ending meniscus injury. Edu sustained his injury last November 12, 2023 when the Grouses faced the Utsunomiya Brex, the same injury that has forced him out of Gilas Pilipinas duties in the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament.

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RAY PARKS JR. | Previous team: Nagoya Diamond Dolphins | 2023-24 season stats: 8.8 points, 3.7 rebounds, 2.2 assists

 

 

 

While his overall numbers were down, Ray Parks Jr. appeared in a career-high 53 games this season.

[Related: Ray Parks Jr. joins stacked class of Filipino Asia Quota free agents]

With the Diamond Dolphins, Parks Jr. also made his third-straight B1 playoff appearance and had a strong run before losing in the semifinals to the Dragonflies.

It's worth nothing though that Ray can stay at Nagoya, as the Diamond Dolphins say that they are in negotiation to bring back the veteran combo guard.

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(Updated - June 26)

New team: Osaka Evessa (B1)

 

Osaka becomes Ray Parks Jr.'s second team in Japan after spending his first three B1 seasons with the Nagoya Diamond Dolphins.

[Related: Ray Parks Jr. welcomes fresh start, signs with Osaka Evessa in the B1]

Osaka finished last season with a 25-35 record — good for 18th place in the 24-team league in Japan’s top flight division.

The 31-year-old fan favorite averaged 8.7 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 2.1 assists last season for the Diamond Dolphins, helping the team to make the playoffs for a third straight season.

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CARL TAMAYO | Previous team: Ryukyu Golden Kings | 2023-24 season stats: 3.9 points, 2.5 rebounds, 40.7 percent 3FG

 

 

 

Carl Tamayo, who won the 2023 B1 championship with the Golden Kings, left Ryukyu in the middle of the 2024 season.

[Related: B.LEAGUE: Carl Tamayo to return home to plan next career step after leaving Ryukyu]

He hasn’t played for any pro team since, but one would think that a player the caliber of Tamayo won’t be a free agent for too long.

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(Updated - June 5)

New team: Changwon LG Sakers (KBL)

[Related: Carl Tamayo headed to KBL to play with Changwon LG Sakers]

Carl Tamayo is headed to the KBL. 

The LG Sakers announced the acquisition of the former UAAP and B.League champion ahead of the 2024-25 KBL season, replacing the Asian Quota Player spot previously held by Justin Gutang.

 

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RHENZ ABANDO | Previous team: Anyang Red Boosters | 2023-24 season stats: 9.9 points, 4.3 rebounds, 1.0 blocks

 

 

 

After winning the 2023 KBL and EASL titles, the 2024 season proved to be a challenging one for Rhenz Abando.

[Related: KBL: Rhenz Abando bids Anyang Jung Kwan Jang Red Boosters goodbye after two seasons]

For one, a spinal injury robbed him of a huge chunk of the KBL season. He did manage to return to close out the year, but his Anyang team was a shell of its former champion self this year and ended up near the bottom of the KBL standings.

A true international talent, whether Abando stays in Korea or decides elsewhere will be something to follow.

 

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New entries

Justin Gutang (Seoul Samsung Thunders)

 

Justin Gutang was announced as a free agent by Changwon last June 5, before the LG Sakers introduced Carl Tamayo as their new Asian Quota import.

[Related: KBL: Justin Gutang joins Seoul Samsung Thunders]

It didn't take long for the former MPBL standout to find a new home in the KBL, landing with the Seoul Samsung Thunders.

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Matthew Aquino (Gunma Crane Thunders)

 

Matthew Aquino gets to stay in Japan's B1 after landing in Gunma wit hthe Crane Thunders.

[Related: Matthew Aquino finds new B1 home with Gunma Crane Thunders]

Aquino spent his first three seasons in Japan with Shinshu, mostly on a backup role. The Brave Warriors were demoted to the B2 after a 10-50 campaign last season.

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Dalph Panopio (Suwon KT Sonicboom)

 

Former Batang Gilas standout Dalph Panopio is now signed with the Suwon KT Sonicboom for the 2024-25 Korean Basketball League (KBL) season.

[Related: Dalph Panopio set to play for Suwon KT Sonicboom in the KBL]

Panopio will replace Dave Ildefonso as the Asian import for the Sonicboom.

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Javi Gómez de Liaño (Anyang Red Boosters)

 

After a stellar season in the PBA with the Terrafirma Dyip, Javi Gómez de Liaño is back in the overseas basketball circuit, signing with the Anyang Red Boosters in the KBL.

[Related: Javi Gómez de Liaño joins former KBL champs Anyang Jung Kwan Jang Red Boosters]

Anyang won the KBL title in 2023 with Rhenz Abando, but after a tough season in 2024 the high-flying guard and the Red Boosters parted ways. Enter Javi, who once again takes his act abroad. Gómez de Liaño previously played in Japan's B.League for the Ibaraki Robots, before choosing to come home and enter the PBA Draft in 2022.

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Geo Chiu (Ehime Orange Vikings)

 

Geo Chiu is joining the jump to play in Japan’s B.League.

[Related: Geo Chiu signs with Ehime Orange Vikings in Japan's B2]

The Ehime Orange Vikings announced the acquisition of the former Ateneo Blue Eagle, making Chiu the latest Filipino Asian Quota import in Japan.

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Dave Ildefonso (PBA Draft)

 

After his two-year stint in the KBL, Dave Ildefonso is set to join the upcoming PBA Rookie Draft.

[Related: Like father and brother: Dave Ildefonso bares plans to join 2024 PBA Rookie Draft]

Dave Ildefonso has announced that he will join the PBA Season 49 Rookie Draft.

Ildefonso, who will play for Strong Group Athletics in the upcoming 43rd Jones Cup, confirmed the development himself during the team's media day. He admitted that there were no offers after his stint in the Korean Basketball League with Suwon KT Sonicboom ended this past season.

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