After being limited to a horrid 1-for-11 shooting in the De La Salle University’s first game of the season, Ricci Rivero was unstoppable during their second outing. And he proved to be crucial, showcasing his scoring prowess and another weapon he has added in his arsenal.
With the Green Archers clinging to a 104-103 lead against the National University Bulldogs with 2:53 left, the 6-foot-1 swingman scored six of his team-high 21 points in a 53 seconds stretch that gave La Salle a three-point cushion.
But the most crucial of plays that stopped NU in their tracks did not come from Rivero’s scoring.
During the off-season, second-year La Salle head coach Aldin Ayo had posed a challenge to the sophomore.
“Every time, every game, kinakausap ako ni coach. Sobrang motivation ang binibigay nila sa akin,” shared Rivero, who grabbed seven rebounds as well. “May binigay silang test sa akin na kelangan kong i-prove na kaya ko.
“I’m trying to make my teammates look good. Yun naman yung magigign pinaka best na magagawa ng isang player.”
With 25.3 seconds remaining, La Salle were struggling to find the bucket to put the nail in the coffin versus NU. Rivero, who had been scoring hot, drove through the lane and dropped a beautiful pass to his brother Prince, who converted a wide-open layup to give the Green Archers a 112-107 win that helped lead to a 115-109 win.
“Hindi lahat ng player looking forward gawin yun,” Rivero pointed out. “Lahat siyempre ang gusto, ikaw yung on top.
“Siguro isa sa mga test sa akin na help my teammates look good. Yun yung magde-determine na nag-mature ako.”
This mindset will only help the Green Archers as they look to defend their crown this season.