Rivero highlight reel sends UP into frenzy, Perasol reminds team to keep emotions in check
MANILA, Philippines—Ricci Rivero put his stamp on his candidacy for Play of the Year in just the first day of the UAAP Season 82 men’s basketball tournament.
But that highlight had a negative effect on University of the Philippines, which just managed to scrape past pesky Far Eastern University in the opener.
It was just a few minutes into the first quarter when Rivero, playing in his first game with the Fighting Maroons, threw down an acrobatic alley-oop finish off of Jun Manzo’s lob.
His teammates and the UP fateful alike went mental on Rivero’s razzle dazzle but UP head coach Bo Perasol warned that the Fighting Maroons savored the moment too much and that they forgot to execute their simpler plays.
“I really think we’ve been very emotional in terms of our offense. I’ve been telling them a dunk is just two points, an alley-oop is just two points,” said Perasol after UP’s 61-55 win over the Tamaraws Wednesday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“I think we just overreacted on a lot of things. I think we have to work on avoiding that. We have to work on a lot of things but we have to get our emotions in check all the time.”
Despite a strong start for a 38-27 lead, UP allowed FEU to gain steam and fight back, outscoring the Fighting Maroons 17-9 in the third to head to the fourth trailing by just three, 47-44.
“I told my teammates earlier that we can’t dwell on what we’re feeling, we need to be responding on what’s happening in the game,” said Rivero in Filipino. “If someone makes a highlight we just have to stay on the game and get back on defense.”
The Tamaraws tied the game at 55 late in the fourth but reigning MVP Bright Akhuetie and Manzo accounted for the Maroon’s next six points to end the match.
Rivero, who had seven points and six rebounds in his UP debut, said he won’t to go for a highlight reel again but won’t forget what matters most.
“If I have a chance to go for it then I’ll grab that opportunity,” said Rivero. “But of course, I will always prioritize on what needs to be done first.”
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