Ricci Rivero officially wore the University of the Philippines jersey for the first time on Friday at the Buddha Care Gym in Quezon City, and made an immediate impact with 34 points.
However, Rivero’s scoring spree wasn’t enough to overcome a balanced University of the East Red Warriors side, which held on for a 69-68 win that sent the Fighting Maroons to back-to-back losses in the 2018 Milcu Sports Basketball, presented by Got Skills Summer Showcase.
UAAP Season 80 Mythical Team member Rivero was determined to make a good first impression on his new team, and was on the mark from start to finish with a sky-high 63.6 clip from the field.
Despite UP’s strong start, however, the Red Warriors just kept coming, behind swingman Chris Conner and big man Wilson Bartolome, who finished with 14 and 11 points, respectively.
Forward Rey Acuno was right there with them and scored 10 points of his own, while rookie guard Jojo Antiporda chipped in nine markers.
Behind the balanced attack, UE overcame the Fighting Maroons and their newest prized recruit to improve to 5-3.
Rivero, who had just transferred from La Salle to State U last month, did not get much help from his teammates, as no one else joined him in double-digits.
The loss is the second straight and fourth overall in eight games for UP, who were also beaten by the National University Bulldogs, 64-59, last Tuesday at the Trinity University Gym, also in QC.
Sweet-shooting forward JP Cauilan was the lone scorer in double-digits with 14 points on top of seven rebounds, but his efforts were more than enough to tow the Bulldogs to 5-4.
Fil-Am forward David Murrell shone for the Fighting Maroons in that game with 14 points and six rebounds.
Meanwhile, Letran powered their way onto the top spot after out-muscling La Salle, 72-67.
Wing player Allen Mina showed the way for the now 7-2 Knights with 17 points while bigs Gerwin Sangalang and Daryl Pascual merged for 22 points, 13 rebounds, and two blocks.
Transferee guard Jordan Bartlett was the lone bright spot for the Green Archers with 24 points.
La Salle were coming off a 71-56 domination of Manuel L. Quezon University three days ago. They now stand at 5-3.
DLSU 71 – Bartlett 20, Bongay 14, Manuel 10, Alcala 13, Alcoriza 6, Cu 4, Santillan 2, Manaytay 2, Javelosa 0, Bates 0
MLQU 56 – Peralta 13, Sual 10, Gula 7, Alimasa 6, Jamila 6, Pastor 5, Verzosa 5, Fabila 2, Zulueta 1, Hermosa 1, Teobengco 0
Quarterscores: 16-21, 31-32, 45-48, 71-56
NU 64 – Cauilan 14, Oczon 8, Sistoza 7, Rangel 6, Yu 6, Diputado 5, Flores 5, Minerva 4, Morido 3, Salim 2, Chatman 2, Penano 2, Malonzo 0, Atienza 0, Puray 0
UP 59 – Murrell 14, Kangga 12, Santiago 9, Gomez de Liano Ja 6, Gomez de Liano Ju 5, Espanola 4, Battad 3, Ong 2, Malingin 2, Madrigal 2
Quarterscores: 10-7, 27-20, 42-44, 64-59
CSJL 72 – Mina 17, Sangalang 12, Pascual 10, Gonzales 10, Reyson 8, Favila 6, Pamulaklakin 5, Pambid 4
DLSU 67 – Bartlett 24, Manuel 13, Bongay 10, Cu 8, Abadeza 6, Alcala 5, Escandor 1, Alcoriza 0, Javelosa 0
Quarterscores: 12-12, 31-28, 55-42, 72-67
UE 69 – Conner 14, Bartolome 11, Acuno 10, Antiporda 9, Varilla 6, Lacap 6, Maloles 4, Dimayuga 3, Gagate 2, Manalang 2, Beltran 2, Gallardo 0, Strait 0, Sobrevega 0, Cullar 0, Guion 0,
UP 68 – Rivero 34, Madrigal 9, Battad 7, Gomez de Liano 5, Gregorio 5, Ong 4, Malik 2, Ollano 2, Malingin 0
Quarterscores: 16-27, 33-34, 56-52, 69-68
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