Right before Gilas Pilipinas head coach Yeng Guiao announced the Final 12 that will compete in the 2018 Asian Games, he made sure to bring Ricci Rivero to the sidelines. They talked for at least five minutes and as it ended, the 20-year-old beamed.
“Sabi niya na, ‘I’m impressed [with you],’ something like that,” Rivero disclosed.
“Sabi ko, ‘Sobrang thank you for this opportunity.’ Kasi sobrang dami kong natutunan.”
The last four days has been an experience of a lifetime for the collegiate student-athlete. The UP transferee was able to train with the players he looked up to and watched as he was growing up. Moreover, he was able to get tips and lessons from a beloved mentor in Guiao.
“First, yung mga kuya and then next sina coach Yeng kasi sobrang hands on nila. Si coach Yeng kasi nakikita ko sobrnag galing niyang mag-develop ng player,” Rivero reflected.
“In a short time sobrang dami kong natutunan sa kanya. So yun sobrang thank you.”
Safe to say, the 6-foot-1 swingman will carry this experience in his next journey in Diliman.
“Actually for me as a college player tapos sabihan ka ni coach Yeng Guiao ng ganoon, malaking bagay yun,” the 23 for 2023 Gilas Cadet gushed. “We all know coach Yeng sobrang thankful din ako na nabigyan ako ng chance to participate in this kind of training, this kind of pool.
“Sobrang taas ng level na ‘to.”
But this will not be the end between Guiao and Rivero as the decorated tactician gave an open invitation to him to train in NLEX since their training facility is near UP.
“I just told him that i was impressed on what he can do. I actually invited him to practice with NLEX para mas ma hone pa yung skills niya. I know he’s not playing this year, but I know he’s practicing,” disclosed Guiao.
“If he wants to practice at a different level, NLEX practice is open to him.”