Ricci Rivero plays hard at FIBA 3×3 and earns world attention. Image from FIBA.

Ricci Rivero capped his stint at the inaugural Fédération Internationale de Basketball (FIBA) 3×3 U23 World Cup held in China with the International Basketball Federation praising him as a fast-rising Filipino basketball superstar who displayed amazing moves on the FIBA hardcourt.

At the close of the FIBA World Cup in October, Rivero’s legacy to the games was celebrated with a compilation his shots, assists, passes, blocks, and defense moves and posted on the FIBA social media as “Ricci Rivero – Ultimate Mixtape – FIBA 3×3 U23 World Cup 2018.”

In the 1-minute Facebook video posted by FIBA 3×3, Rivera was described as, “He was by far the most spectacular player at the FIBA3x3 U23 World Cup. Two years from now, where do you see Filipino prodigy Ricci Rivero?”

A 3-minute YouTube version of the mixtape had announcers annotating Rivero’s moves on the FIBA basketball court, praising his amazing performance throughout the games with spectacular moves both in offense and defense.

The Ricci Rivero FIBA Facebook video went viral garnering over half a million views, with the YouTube version picking up a couple of hundred views.

But even before going into the actual FIBA 3×3 U23 games the international league already feted Rivero as one of the “Top 5 Men to Watch” at FIBA together with 4 leading players from China, France, Czech Republic, and Russia.

In the FIBA website feature on “Ricci Rivero – Philippines” the Filipino athlete was presented as coming back to the 3×3 courts three years after his 3×3 debut at the FIBA 3×3 U18 World Cup 2015.

Rivero at play in FIBA 3×3 U23 World Cup. Image from FIBA 3×3.

“He’s one of the biggest rising stars in the Philippines and he’s making headlines off the court too. He played in a horror movie this summer,” went the FIBA introduction mentioning Rivero’s debut as an actor in the upcoming Metro Manila Film Festival horror flick OLTUM (reverse of “Multo” – the Filipino word for ghosts) directed by Joven Tan.

In a recent Live Tweet session with his followers, Ricci Rivero talked about how he manages his time acting, studying, and playing ball.

“Definitely focus muna. Priority will always be UP. I actually requested that once training starts next year set aside muna ang mainstream showbiz engagements,” tweeted Rivero in a reply to a netizen.

Ricci Rivero debuts as an actor at the MMFF with the OTLUM movie. Photo from Joven Tan.

Rivero competed at the FIBA together with fellow Philippines’ national players Rhon Jhay Abarrientos, Rhayyan Amsali, and Jeepy Faundo. The Philippine team won against host China but was unable to move beyond their Pool C. Their strong showing as Team Philippines earned them the 9th place finish among 20 nations competing for the Men’s Basketball title eventually won by Russia.

The 20-year-old amateur basketball star is already back in the Philippines waiting out his residency at the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) before playing at the UAAP Season 82 in 2019 for the University of the Philippines Maroons. Rivero previously played for the De La Salle University Green Archers.

WATCH how Ricci Rivero caught the fancy of FIBA sportscasters and audiences in this video:

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