MANILA, Philippines – Ricci Rivero has yet to find his groove in his UAAP return, but his former supporters certainly have not forgotten who he is and what he can do on the court.
Playing his first game against his former team De La Salle Green Archers, the new UP Fighting Maroon was greeted with a chorus of boos during player introductions before tip-off.
UP would get the last laugh, however, as the Maroons escaped with a 72-71 win thanks to Juan Gomez de Liaño’s game-winning three. Rivero was still not his usual dominant self, but he did finish with a season-high 9 points.
Like everyone else in the Maroons’ locker room, Rivero was in high spirits after the hard-earned win and even took the time to praise his former school.
“I’m really happy that they booed me. For me, it felt really positive for me,” he said. “I took it really positively because that’s their way of supporting their team especially with me playing for the other team.”
It was this school pride that made Rivero wish he had worn the green and white throughout his collegiate career.
“I’ve said this so many times. When I was at La Salle, I was really thinking of myself playing for La Salle for my entire UAAP career,” he continued. “It was really an unexpected thing that happened to me. No hard feelings. La Salle is really my second home and I’m happy playing against them because seeing those crowds, I used to play for them. I used to give everything I’ve got for them.”
Unfortunately for Rivero, he got entangled in a complicated web of controversies that ultimately caused him to seek a fresh start away from Taft. (ATHLETE’S CORNER: Ricci Rivero rises)
Now getting that chance in Katipunan, Rivero is doing anything he can to help his new team win, even if it hasn’t translated to efficient on-court production so far.
“I’m super satisfied with what the team showed because although we were never up the whole game, I kept on shouting that we have to be positive,” he said. “This isn’t really gonna be easy for us. It’s really gonna be hard for us but we can do it.” – Rappler.com
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