La Salle rising star Ricci Rivero makes surprise appearance at Gilas Pilipinas practice
La Salle star Ricci Rivero talks with SBP chairman emeritus Manny V. Pangilinan at the sidelines of Gilas practice on Monday night. Jerome Ascano

RICCI Rivero showed his support for Gilas Pilipinas by attending the national team's first practice for the year on Monday at the Meralco Gym in Pasig City.

The high-flying wingman was considered a shoo-in for the Gilas pool for the 2023 Fiba World Cup but was left out along with fellow La Salle standouts Aljun Melecio and Andrei Caracut.

National coach Chot Reyes later explained La Salle asked that the three be left out at the moment so they can focus on the Green Archers' transition from the system of former coach Aldin Ayo to that of Louie Gonzalez.

But that didn't stop Rivero from showing up in practice - even as a spectator - while members of two separate Gilas pools for the 2019 and 2023 World Cups gathered.

Rivero later spoke with Gilas officials led by Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) chairman emeritus Manny V. Pangilinan and president Al Panlilio but declined to grant interviews.

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