RICCI Rivero said he felt right at home the moment he started training with the University of the Philippines Maroons.
“Hindi ko talaga iniisip pa ’yung kung magfi-fit in ba ako sa offense or defense. Gusto ko ‘yung ako ang mag-aadjust to them. This isn’t my team,” said former La Salle star.
“Nung pumunta ako dito, buo na sila. Gusto ko, ako ang mag-adjust para sa kanila.”
The 20-year-old Rivero joined the Maroons in practice for the first time on Tuesday hours after UP formally signed a memorandum of understanding with new team backer 3M Philippines.
Part of the UAAP Mythical Five in Season 80, Rivero said he hasn’t really thought about his place in coach Bo Perasol’s system, and that the primary focus now is to get back in shape.
“Para akong nasa oven. Pero okay lang. Actually feel ko, hindi lang naman ako sanay sa regular training pero I think we will get there,” said Rivero.
“I think it’s going to help me a lot. Being in the right shape, I think ‘yun ang kailangan ko as of now. Siguro, try ko na second nature ’yung system.”
Rivero joined several drills as well as walk throughs for simple plays on offense and defense.
“Actually, kanina wala pa naman. Ball screen pa lang tinuro at defense so hindi ko pa naman talaga tinry to find my own shot. Tinitignan ko lang how my teammates will react to how I play,” said Rivero.
“I think okay naman ’yung system. Feel ko, makakatulong sila sobra sa akin (coaches). I think I’m going to learn a lot from them and from my teammates. I think sobrang dami ko pa kailangan i-work out,” he added.
“I think siyempre nasa player na ‘yun. ‘Yung coaches, halos lahat namin ng mga coaches, sobrang memorized na nila how to handle the players especially ‘yung mga bata pa. I just have to trust my coaches and my teammates,” Rivero said.
There is excitement in the UP community with Rivero’s addition to the team that earlier acquired Bright Akhuetie, but the former La Salle star does not want to be carried away by the expectations.
“For me, I don’t take it really as pressure eh. Gusto ko lang na basta I know na sila coach Bo, nagtiwala sa akin. I think I have to repay them back ‘yung trust nila sa akin,” Rivero said.