MANILA, Philippines – As far as Ricci Rivero is concerned, he is still a member of the Gilas Pilipinas 2023 prospect pool and a member of the De La Salle University (DLSU) Green Archers.
The standout collegiate guard confirmed this after Gilas’ practice in the Meralco Gym, Monday, February 5. In an interview with reporters, he insisted that he just took a leave from the team, like his brother Prince and teammate Brent Paraiso, and that he will continue to practice for Gilas.
“Wala pa namang sinabi na-cut ako or tinanggal ako sa team,” said the younger Rivero. “Basta ‘yun lang, nag-request pa lang kami [nina Prince at Brent] na mag-leave of absence muna for a while. But I still go to class every day and all. ‘Yun lang.”
(“There hasn’t been any announcement that I was cut or removed from the team. We just requested a leave of absence for a while. But I still got ot class every day and all. That’s all.”)
“As of now, wala pa talaga kaming kinausap… wala pang kumausap sa amin,” he added when asked whether other schools have reached out to the trio and tried to acquire their services. “Wala pa talaga kaming na-accommodate na ibang schools.”
(“As of now, we really haven’t talked to anyone… no one has talked to us. We really haven’t accommodated other schools.”)
This clarifications come after reports from media outlets have surfaced that the Archer trio have been kicked out of the team and that the Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) and University of Santo Tomas (UST) are reportedly recruiting them.
However, Ateneo team manager Epok Quimpo denied that the blue and white had a "headstart" to recruiting the Riveros in a post he shared from Spin.ph
The DLSU Office of Sports Development also issued clarifications through DLSU Sports’ Twitter regarding the leaves of absence hours after the reports first erupted through social media.
Regardless, the absences of these players especially Mythical 5 member Ricci, would continue to weaken a DLSU team that already lost two-time MVP Ben Mbala and one-time UAAP champion coach Aldin Ayo.
Ricci averaged around 14 points, 5 rebounds and 2 assists in a breakout Season 80 and was a key piece in the Archers’ hotly-contested Finals series against the Ateneo Blue Eagles.
Try #ShootMeBaby fam and tag @RicciRivero06 pic.twitter.com/oDCurXIQQC — Official RicciSquad (@riccisquad) February 3, 2018
Thank You @dyndean for buying #ShootMeBaby Guys try it - order now in Lazada https://t.co/znn8gmprQV — Ricci Rivero (@RicciRivero06) February 3, 2018
With UAAP basketball out of their minds for the time being, the trio has started to advertise a startup brand of hot sauce called “Shoot Me Baby” on Twitter. – with reports from Beatrice Go/Rappler.com