Young Rivero proves ‘he can play at this level,’ says Guiao
Ricci Rivero showed flashes of what he’s capable of in his first foray as part of the latest national team pool when the squad took on Jordan in a tune-up game Monday night.
Rivero only played in the second quarter and finished with four points but did enough to make a good account of himself despite being the youngest member of the team with Kai Sotto unavailabe due to academic reasons.
“My focus is to create open shots for my teammates because all of them are capable of making shots,” Rivero told reporters in Filipino.
“Coach Alex also told me not to hesitate in taking the shot and if I see an open lane attack it,” added Rivero, referring to guard Alex Cabagnot, who is also one of his coaches at University of the Philippines.
The 20-year-old Rivero created an opening for himself when he side-stepped his way to the basket drawing a wild reaction from the packed crowd at Meralco Gym.
“Actually, he was able to prove that his play is at the level of the guys here,” said Gilas Pilipinas coach Yeng Guiao after Jordan came away with a 98-92 win. “He could’ve performed better. I felt he was fouled in a few situations where he could’ve contributed a little bit more.”
“But he’s proven that he can play at this level although he’s just playing in college. He can play at this level,” Guiao stressed.
Rivero teamed up with the likes of June Mar Fajardo, Christian Standhardinger and Cabagnot on the floor and he said that being in the company of the top basketball players in the country alone is already an accomplishment for him.
“I’m happy because I get to play alongside my older brothers and to play under coach Yeng and coach Ryan (Gregorio) and coach Caloy (Garcia). For me, it’s already an achievement na for me and just to be part of this pool. It makes me really happy.”
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