Rivero: La Salle gave everything | Inquirer Sports

Rivero: La Salle gave everything

By: - Reporter / @jwpayoINQ
/ 05:04 AM December 04, 2017

As confetti rained on new UAAP men’s basketball champion Ateneo, La Salle’s Rivero brothers stayed and hugged on court.

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It was a poignant moment that similarly happened in Game 2, where Prince tried to straighten up his younger brother Ricci, who picked up his fourth foul early but later recovered in the second half to help the Green Archers force a decider.

This time, it was Ricci who tried to console a devastated Prince after the Green Archers bowed to the Blue Eagles, 88-86, in the thrilling do-or-die Game 3 showdown on Sunday.

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“It’s really hard,” admitted Ricci. “We know there are ups and downs, and now, we’re down. We just have to think of ways to recover.”

The Archers had a strong shot at winning their second straight crown, before the Eagles unleashed a 14-2 run to take a double-digit advantage, 80-70, going into the last four minutes.

But just like in Wednesday’s Game 2, the Archers showed no quit in them and answered with a 10-2 rally of their own to trim the gap to just a basket, 82-80, after an Andrei Caracut triple with 48.9 seconds left.

“At this point, we gave everything,” said Ricci. “Maybe they’re really just more deserving than us.”

The Eagles showed they wanted it, all right, with Isaac Go knocking in a clutch triple with 24.7 ticks remaining and Anton Asistio and Matt Nieto sealing it from the free throw line.

“This loss is really a big factor,” said Ricci. “But a loss would make you pray more, would make you look at everything that happened.”

There’s no shame, though, in the Archers’ effort as season MVP Ben Mbala dropped a double-double of 19 points and 14 rebounds, while Aljun Melecio (16 points), Ricci (14 points), Andrei Caracut (13 points) and Santi Santillan (11 points) also finished in double figures.

“I’m always proud of my teammates and coaches,” said Ricci. “We were together all throughout the year. We’ve been through a lot together.”

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TAGS: Basketball, Rivero, UAAP men’s basketball champion Ateneo
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