RICCI Rivero insisted he drew no pleasure from seeing his University of the Philippines side give his former team La Salle the boot this UAAP Season 82.
Rivero's exit from La Salle wasn't exactly cordial, but he insisted that leading the Fighting Maroons to the No. 2 seed with a 71-68 squeaker over the Green Archers was his biggest motivation on Sunday.
"What we really are preparing for is getting the second seed. It's not about who we are against, it's just about the second seed," he said after posting a season-best 12 points, five rebounds, and two assists against his former team.
"I'm just really thinking of what I can contribute to the team especially sa defense. This season, I don't really think much about offense. Kung meron, meron, pero kung wala, okay lang," the flamboyant forward insisted.
"Everyone in the team is capable of making their shots especially Bright (Akhuetie), Kobe (Paras), Jun (Manzo), Javi and Juan (Gomez de Liano). What we need is defense and that's what I'm doing."
For Rivero, UP sweeping La Salle for the second consecutive season is just the morale boost his side needs ahead of its collosal duel against Ateneo on Wednesday.
The Fighting Maroons remain the only team standing in the way of the Blue Eagles in their bid to complete a 14-0 elimination sweep and turn the Final Four to a step-ladder affair.
"Getting this win will help us with our mindset and also boost our confidence going against Ateneo," the 21-year-old guard said.
And what better way for UP to head to the playoffs as the only team to put a blemish on the record of the defending champs Ateneo.
Yet Rivero doesn't want to put too much pressure on his side, focusing on the present in the lead-up to the crunch clash.
"Like what I've been telling them, it doesn't end here. Our mentality is the next game, the next dribble, the next pass. That's what we have to think about heading into the game," he said.