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In his final year, Ricci Rivero embraces leadership role in UP

Ricci Rivero always attracted the attention of those who watch.

Now in his final campaign in the collegiate league, he is determined to end it in a glorious way.

In the star-studded University of the Philippines lineup, the 6-foot-1 swingman is slowly finding his role in the team. He is now emerging as one of its leaders after he led UP to an 80-70 win over National University with 19 points.

That victory sealed the Fighting Maroons’ second victory in the UAAP Season 84 Men’s Basketball Tournament.

“For me, we’ve seen many lapses and we’re struggling,” the Season 80 Mythical Team awardee opined, as the highly-touted Fighting Maroons have lost to Ateneo while figuring in “close” wins against UST and NU. “Siguro ang tulong talaga sa amin is we stick in the system.

“For me, I have so much hope and trust in Coach Gold’s [Monteverde] system. I’ve been very vocal na isigaw sa kanila na let’s trust the system. If mas humihirap sa atin, dapat mas magtiwala tayo sa system.

Ako, mistake ko rin naman lalo nung bata pa ako, yung minsan kapag humihirap, pumupunta ako sa comfort zone ko. But then siyempre, iba na ngayon. At least nag-stick din naman kami but we’ll be better for sure in the next game.”

Playing in his last year with UP, hopes are high that Rivero can help lead the school to its first UAAP crown since 1986. The former De La Salle Green Archer transferred to the Diliman institution amidst much fanfare, and he would like to end his stint with a legacy that will endure for decades to come.

#ReadMore  Green Tennisters nose out Fighting Maroons, take bronze

During the extended off-season, Rivero watched as the likes of Bright Akheutie; Kobe Paras; Juan and Javi Gomez de Liano; and Jaydee Tungcab graduated from the team. As one of the veterans from Season 82, he has embraced the leadership role given to him.

UAAP84-Mens-Basketball-UP-vs-NU-Ricci-Rivero-2-1-scaled In his final year, Ricci Rivero embraces leadership role in UP Basketball News UAAP UP  - philippine sports news

“Actually, it’s easier than I expected. Since I have so much trust and faith in Coach Gold’s system, nagtutulungan talaga kami especially kay Coach Gold. Palagi kami nag-uusap. We get to talk a lot,” said the Isabela native, who had a game-high 19 points against the Bulldogs.

“Kaya nakatulong din yung bubble setup. Siyempre sa akin kasi, from time to time, nakakausap talaga kami ni Coach Gold. Even the coaching staff, they’ve been always very vocal para sa buong team.”

Before everything else, though, being a good leader starts with self-awareness. One must be willing to learn the ropes and experience difficulties before emerging as someone worth looking up to.

For Rivero, it is all about putting the system above anyone in the talented UP team. It is the way to go, especially when there is so much at stake this year.

“Ako, halos reminders na lang din kung ano yung may chances na-miss out ‘pag nandun kami sa court. Tina-try ko rin ngayon talaga i-try din muna i-fit in talaga,” he admitted.

“Siguro para mas umikot din yung system ni coach na lahat kami sumusunod dun sa system, instead of me focusing on the whole team.”

All UAAP games stream live on GigaPlay presented by Yamaha. Download it now on Android or IOS.
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Written By

Lorenzo's a frustrated author who knows a thing or two about Football and Basketball. Went all green from Ortigas to Taft. Supports Liverpool FC, FC Bayern Munich and the Alaska Aces

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