Taking his time
After figuring in a tough stretch that saw him ultimately leave the De La Salle University, Ricci Rivero is planning to build himself back up with the Gilas Pilipinas Cadets.
“Sobrang hirap kasi yun nga, I’m really looking forward to getting the championship back for La Salle kasi La Salle will always be my second home,” reflected the 19-year-old during the Chooks-to-Go-hosted homecoming for Kobe Paras. “And then after that, hindi ako talaga nakapagfocus sa basketball, kasi I can’t play to any teams kasi may sanctions about or something like that sa UAAP.
“Siyempre nakakalaro ako with my brothers lang, with my friends and then after that, wala na.”
Last February, Ricci, together with his brother Prince and his good friend Brent Paraiso, were removed from the Green Archers. According to La Salle’s Office of Sports Development, the trio asked for a “leave of absence” for them to fulfill their contractual obligations with their endorsements.
Last March, Rivero — who averaged 14.1 points, 5.3 rebounds, 2.2 assists, and 1.5 steals per game back in the UAAP Season 80 Men’s Basketball Tournament — decided to leave La Salle altogether.
But the risk the 6-foot-1 swingman took also had a positive result.
After not being allowed by La Salle to join the 23 for 2023 cadets, he can now freely train with his peers and batchmates.
“Sobrang eye opener yung Gilas kasi it will help me nga to prepare myself and help me be in the right shape pa rin.
“Who doesn’t want to play for the national team?,” he furthered. “It will help me also prepare for the future and if ever, I’m going to transfer to a different school. It will help me a lot to grow myself as a player and as a person going to that university to help me siguro decide for myself and be a better player and ready ako to compete.”
With the first semester for most UAAP schools starting in August, Rivero plans to take his time if ever he plans to go back to college.
“As of now, okay naman ako to any universities pero looking forward to seeing a university which is yung magfifit ako sa system. Kasi kahit gusto ko dito sa school na ito, if hindi naman ako magfi-fit sa system, if mayroon na silang players na yung nasa position ko, parang hindi rin magma-matter,” the UAAP Season 80 Most Improved Player said.
“As of now, sa akin, ayoko kasi to talk to them parang, not really ayoko, I just want to focus myself sa Gilas. Kinakausap nila yung dad ko and then as of now, sabi ko lang I don’t want to commit myself,” he added.
“Siguro by August mayroon na.”