Dwight Ramos has become the newest addition to the growing list of Filipinos in the Japan B. League after signing a contract with Toyama Grouses last week.
This decision opens up new opportunities for the 6-foot-4 guard, one of which is the chance to face off against his compatriots on the court.
"I'm really excited," the 25-year-old Ramos told The Game.
"Some of them, I really haven't played against and I haven't really played with that much. So I'm really excited to go against them and see them over there."
Eight basketball athletes from the Philippines have taken their acts to Japan. Six of them are set to suit up for Division I club teams and Ramos is one of them.
Who are the other five?
The first one is Bobby Ray Parks, whom Ramos has never shared a court with even in the Philippines. The high-scoring guard inked a deal with the Nagoya Diamond Dolphins, which will take on the Grouses on 16 and 17 October.
Ramos will then encounter two familiar faces in the Ravena brothers before the year comes to a close. Thirdy Ravena and the San-en Neophoenix will play Toyama on 13 and 14 November, while Kiefer Ravena and the Shiga Lakestars will lock horns with the Grouses on 11 and 12 December.
Ramos and the Ravenas were core members of the Gilas Pilipinas that saw action in the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers, where Javi Gomez de Liaño also suited up as part of the country's contingent.
De Liaño, who will reinforce the Ibaraki Robots, will take on Ramos when his team host Toyama on 5 and 6 February next year.
Based on the available schedule, Ramos will not be able to share the floor with another Gilas stalwart in Kobe Paras, who will suit up for Niigata Albirex BB. No playdate was set between their club teams yet.
Still, it is not enough to dampen the excitement for Ramos.
"I can't even tell you one person. Every game against one of our fellow Filipinos, I'm ready excited to play against them. I think it's gonna be really exciting for all of us," he said.
Ohmer Bautista is a sports journalist who has covered local and international sporting events in the Philippines. The views expressed are his own.