FILOIL: UP transferee Rivero just made La Salle feel his presence at both ends
Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on May 12, 2019 06:50 PM
Ricci Rivero's free throws and block forced UP and La Salle to go to overtime
Ricci Rivero found himself and the University of the Philippines, his new team, down by as much as 14 points to De La Salle University, his old team, Sunday at Filoil Flying V Centre.
It was at that point, however, that he dropped seven points in the last five minutes of regulation to will the Fighting Maroons back into the game.
The last two of those points came after he fished a foul from Justine Baltazar and then converted the couple of charities.
At the other end, he then snuffed out a triple try by Andrei Caracut, making sure the two teams needed overtime to settle the score.
In all, the Green Archers were 32.9 seconds away from a win only to fall victim to Rivero's game-changing plays at both ends.
Asked if he was inspired to play against his old team, though, State U's prized transferee downplayed whatever personal feelings he had on the match-up. "Nothing really special naman. Like what Coach Bo [Perasol] said, it's not about winning against La Salle or winning against any other team," he said.
He then continued, "We're playing basketball here so it's about winning each and every game."
Whatever it is, at the end of the day, it was the euro-stepping swingman who, together with Javi Gomez de Liano, lifted UP to a triumph over La Salle as he dropped 10 of his game-high 28 points in the extra session.
Rivero made it a point to say, though, that even after this win, they are far from their goal. As he put it, "Not just beating this specific team or whatever makes you a good team. What makes you a good team is, first, staying together, trusting each other."
He then continued, "Next is the willingness to win. It's not just beating this specific team."
Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.