Entering their game against the San Beda Red Lions in the 2019 Filoil Flying V Preseason Cup, the UP Fighting Maroons were already short-handed.
The Gomez de Liano brothers, Jun Manzo, and Will Gozum were out for the contest as they had school work.
Down to just 10 men, UP were further chopped down, as Ricci Rivero fouled out with three minutes left in the contest.
And the fouls called on him – particularly the last one – left him scratching his head.
“No, I don’t know. I want to watch the replay if what I did were really fouls ’cause I don’t know. I was jumping straight up,” Rivero recalled.
“San Beda’s trying to hold us, we’re just trying to remove their hands but… I don’t know.”
It stopped Rivero right in his tracks, as he was having an excellent game with 18 points, five rebounds, two steals, and two blocks.
“I don’t really get mad at the refs but today was just weird. But there are no excuses,” added Kobe Paras.
Though playing with just nine men, the Fighting Maroons still put up a good fight before falling to the Red Lions, 66-75.
Given the circumstances, Rivero – who transferred to UP back on May 2018 – shared that they have to prepare for anything when they get back to Diliman.
“In a way, San Beda’s really good though so I think we just have to prepare a lot more. We just need a lot more games together and we need our teammates, Jun, Javi, Juan, and Will,” the UAAP Season 80 Most Improved Player admitted.
“I think we just need to prepare a lot more.”
Moreover, Rivero is just glad to finally wet his feet with this batch of Fighting Maroons.
“It feels good. It feels great, especially to play with them. I’ve been with them for almost a year. It feels great and I’m looking forward to playing with them a lot more,” expressed the 6-foot-1 swingman.
“We’re gonna play as a team a lot more. After how many games, we’re getting there.”
And by the looks of it, the Fighting Maroons are a power waiting to be unleashed.
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