A good number of the UP community caught a glimpse of how Ricci Rivero can deliver for the Fighting Maroons in the UAAP’s next season on Friday night.
Rivero was part of the 14-man Gilas Pilipinas team that went head-to-head with the Lebanese national team in a tune-up game, held at the newly-built Epsilon Chi center inside the UP campus in Diliman, Quezon City.
Gilas lost, 68-74, and the 20-year-old swingman only scored a single field goal. But that basket drew raves from the whole crowd, as he made it all over the outstretched arms of one of Lebanon’s towering frontcourt players.
Rivero played better than in his outing last Monday versus Jordan, as he was aggressive in taking shots. And he himself agreed.
“I think okay naman yung nagawa ko,” said Rivero. “‘Di ako nasabihan talaga personally ni coach Yeng [Guiao] about what happened or kung ano insight niya, pero for me kailangan ko lang ma-maximize yung time na binibigay.
“Kasi sobrang konti lang talaga, sobrang limited minutes lang. Si dapat wala talagang room for mistakes.”
And as far as playing in front of the UP community is concerned – and also in front of his future teammates such as the Gomez de Liano brothers Juan and Javi, and Bright Akhuetie – the Team Pilipinas 3×3 star was honored.
“For me it’s something special,” he said.
“First, this one’s a new gym pa lang, Epsilon Chi Center. I think ito pa lang yung first na official na game, yung talagang pinuntahan ng tao. For me, parang isa na rin siyang achievement for the owners, na parang Gilas ‘to eh, ito yung maglalaro for the fifth window. Parang nabigyan agad ng opportunity na makilala yung gym itself. And in front of UP crowd pa,” Rivero expressed.
“Sobrang saya ko na dito ginanap kasi coach Yeng’s from UP rin – I think – and andito yung ibang UP community, and yung mga magiging teammates ko next year.”
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