RICCI Rivero is just honored for the opportunity to play alongside his seniors in Team Pilipinas' tuneup game against Jordan on Monday.
"Sobrang thankful ako kay coach Yeng (Guiao) na binigyan ako ng chance. Sobrang excited ako. Maging part lang ng team, sobrang achievement na para sa akin," he said.
Rivero and fellow young gun Kai Sotto will have their first taste of the action with some of the best players the country has to offer as the national team continues to prepare for the fifth window in the 2019 Fiba World Cup Asian qualifiers.
Though chances may seem slim for Rivero and Sotto to make it to the 12-man roster for the November 30 game against Kazakhstan and December 3 tiff against Iran, the experience itself is already huge as the two are touted to be cornerstones of Team Pilipinas in the future.
The UP guard knows that, and he's trying to make the most of this chance to pick the brains of the top playmakers in the country in the likes of Jayson Castro and Alex Cabagnot.
"Syempre getting to practice with them on the court, sobrang dami kong natututunan. Sila pa yung players na kakausapin ka talaga at bibigyan ka nila ng advice to improve your game," he said.
But Rivero admits that he knows his place in this team as all he wants is to come out as a better court general and a feistier defender after this run.
"Gagawin ko lang yung gusto ng coaches which is defense. I think lahat naman ng coaches, defense ang focus. Ayaw nila na shoot lang ng shoot, pero wala namang defense. Lahat naman marunong shumoot pero hindi lahat dumedepensa. So if given a chance, focus pa rin ako sa defense and create open shots for my teammates," he said.