RICCI Rivero was thrilled to play in front of the University of the Philippines community in Team Pilipinas' tune-up game against Lebanon on Friday night.
Rivero, who is red-shirting for the Maroons this season after his transfer from La Salle, gave a good account of himself in the Philippines’ 74-68 loss to Lebanon, scoring two points while making the most of his minutes off the bench.
The high-flying forward said it was an honor to be among the first to play at the brand-new Epsilon Chi Center inside the UP campus.
“For me, it’s something special. First, this one is a new gym pa lang for UP. I think heto pa lang ‘yung first official game talaga na pinuntahan ng mga tao. For me, isa na rin siyang achievement for the owners na Gilas ‘to, eto ‘yung maglalaro sa fifth window. Nabigyan ng opportunity na makilala ang gym na ‘to at in front pa of the UP crowd,” said Rivero.
Being the only collegiate player in the current Gilas pool, Rivero said he made an effort to make the least mistakes possible.
“Sabi kasi ni coach Yeng nung halftime, atakihin naming kasi hindi kasi kami nakaka-shoot ng outside shots. Kahit nami-miss namin ‘yung mga floaters namin, tuloy pa rin ang atake kasi doon magki-create ng open space for other teammates.
“Hindi naman ako nasabihan ni coach Yeng personally about what happened or kung ano ang insight niya pero for me, sobrang kailangan ko lang mai-maximize ‘yung time na binibigay sa akin kasi sobrang konti lang talaga ... so walang room for mistakes.”