Ricci Rivero 'excited' for Gilas debut in 2018 Asian Games
MANILA, Philippines – After enduring a painful personal episode and a lackluster Filoil preseason stint, Ricci Rivero resurfaced with hope as he will be checking off an item in his bucket list: playing for Gilas Pilipinas.
The former De La Salle University standout is looking forward to his debut with the senior's national team in the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia.
"Sobrang excited ako (I'm so excited). I mean, who doesn't want to play for your country? For Gilas, diba (right)?" Rivero said.
He added: "I don’t really take this as an obligation that I have to attend training, something like that. I take it as a pleasure for me to represent my country."
Gilas cadets Rivero, Kobe Paras, and Abu Tratter will be joining the 12-man lineup composed of the TNT core and naturalized player Andray Blatche.
Being the youngest in the team, Rivero already feels the challenge and pressure in competing in his first senior's international tournament, but he is willing to learn from the older players to further prepare himself for the 2023 World Cup.
"Siyempre nandiyan 'yung pressure and challenge, but then 'yun nga, sabi ng coaches namin basta makinig kami sa kanila," Rivero said.
(Of course the pressure and challenge are there, but then the coaches said that we should just listen to them.)
He added: "And makinig din sa mga kuya, kasi kahit papano 'yung Gilas na 'yan, experienced na 'yan siyempre compared to us, kami 'yung mga cadets, sila 'yung tutulong sa amin doon sa journey namin na ito."
(We should also listen to the older players because Gilas is experienced compared to us cadets. They are the ones who will help us in this journey.)
The last time the small forward represented the country was in the 2015 FIBA U-18 3x3 World Cup. – Rappler.com