RICCI Rivero is embracing an increased role at La Salle in his sophomore year with the Green Archers.
Rivero has been making the most of his extended minutes for the Green Archers in the summer leagues and the opening of the Filoil preseason is no different as he finished with 13 points and a team-high four steals in an 81-85 loss to Jose Rizal University.
“Siguro, I just have to accept the fact na (I have a) bigger role pero I’m just playing within the system,” Rivero said. “’Yung offense naman, darating ‘yun if you play defense.”
Rivero’s increased minutes can be attributed to the departure of veterans Jeron Teng and Thomas Torres, as he took it upon himself to help fill up the gap left by the two experienced players.
“You have to accept the role and the fact na wala na mga seniors. Wala na sila Jeron and Thomas. Kailangan namin mag-step up. We don’t need to think about offense. We have to think about the defense and the offense will come,” said Rivero.
During the match against the Heavy Bombers, Rivero showed his all-around game particularly in the third quarter when he forced a turnover in the backcourt, then followed it up with a tomahawk dunk that put the La Salle crowd on its feet.
Rivero credited his improvement to the La Salle coaches.
“Siguro compliments to the coaches especially coach Miggy (Solitaria), coach Louie (Gonzales), and coach Aldin (Ayo). They are always there to talk to me. They are always there to guide me. Sobrang laki ‘yung mga advice from me kasi the system itself, parang siya ang kumakausap sa akin,” said Rivero.
“Super thankful ako na nandun silang tatlo. Super laking bagay na meron akong coach na open sa players,” he added.
Rivero said the coaching staff led by Ayo has developed an open line of communication with the players.
“Okay sila coach kasi parang barkada type pero nandun pa rin ‘yung respeto dahil coach siya eh. Parang ilulugar mo ‘yung pagiging barkada sa coach kasi open ‘yung communication with him. Everytime na after practice, free kami, punta lang kami sa room nila, nandun lang sila para mag-remind,” said Rivero.