Chot Reyes says Gilas Pilipinas door still open for La Salle star Ricci Rivero
Ricci Rivero and Chot Reyes meet in Gilas practice on Monday night. Jerome Ascano

GILAS Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes welcomed the presence of Ricci Rivero in the national team’s first practice of the year on Monday night despite the La Salle star not being part of the 2023 Fiba World Cup pool for now due to school commitments.

Rivero and fellow La Salle standouts Aljun Melecio and Andrei Caracut were supposed to be part of the 23-man national pool preparing early for the 2023 World Cup that the country is co-hosting, but the school asked that the trio beg off for now to focus on the Green Archers' transition to a new coach. 

Still, Rivero came as a surprise visitor – although just a spectator –in practice at the Merlaco gym, probably signifying his intention to be part of the pool.

“He came on his own volition,” Reyes said. “I don’t know if they’re going to try to talk to their team. The pool is open. We’re all inclusive. But that’s a different discussion altogether.”

“It remains to be seen what’s going to happen the next couple of the week,” he added.

Reyes talked with Rivero and his dad, former Barako Bull and Phoenix assistant coach Paolo Rivero, who was also in attenadance. 

The high-flying forward later declined interview requests.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos