Ricci Rivero had his fair share of contributions in the series of unfortunate incidents that hounded University of the Philippines during its do-or-die game versus University of Santo Tomas.
“’Yung frustrations naman, andiyan ‘yan everywhere.
“Not just in losing; kahit naman manalo kayo, hindi talaga mawawala ‘yan. It just depends on how we make it up to ourselves,” said Rivero, who wound up with 12 points and eight rebounds in UP’s 65-68 loss to UST.
With 2:33 remaining in the game, Bright Akhuetie was writhing in pain, helpless on the floor. Rivero failed to give up a foul, forcing Jun Manzo – who was unaware that he already had committed four – to give up his last foul to stop the clock.
In the ensuing play, Noah Webb went down with an apparent injury. But again, the former DLSU Green Archer declined to commit a foul, which pushed the struggling Webb to give up foul to halt the possession.
The last and most crucial one came at the 1:03 mark. With UP up by two, Rivero failed to pass the ball, resulting in a holding violation — and leading to Renzo Subido’s game-winning triple a few plays after.
But the 21-year-old shrugged it off, saying that the team — especially him — can only learn from mistakes like these. And he’s willing to go through this process if the end result means he becomes a well-rounded player in the future.
“A lot of improvements, especially, if winning is something is that we only feel. It’s harder to learn if you’re winning all the time, and not feeling the pain and being able to learn a lot from defeats,” explained Rivero, as his numbers this season dipped from his sophomore year with La Salle.
“Though I have lapses because… Honestly I am not really good at playing the lockdown defender kind of thing. I embraced my role a lot kasi I know this is gonna help me, not just as a basketball player — adjusting and thinking about the bigger picture and not just about myself.”
Despite a third-place finish this season after making it to the Finals a year ago, Rivero shared that they have no regrets.
Despite a deeper squad than a year ago, he stressed that the hype was not justified. After all, this batch of Fighting Maroons has less experience together under their belt.
“All the hype isn’t really… I didn’t really think about the hype the whole season. I know if we give everything, kahit win or lose, okay na kami roon,” he opined. “Whatever the outcome is, we’re gonna accept it kasi part siya of being a person.
“We also pray… Ako, I honestly didn’t pray na to give this win to us. I was just praying for him to put us in a situation, the best situation for us to learn as a player and as a UP Fighting Maroon.”
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