Ricci Rivero slam dunks
Ricci Rivero flies high and slam dunks his first goal in the first 7 minutes of the UAAP Season 82 opener game between the UP Fighting Maroons and FEU Tamaraws. Credits to ABS-CBN Sports Highlights Video.

Rising basketball superstar Ricci Rivero of the University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons marked his return to the University Athletics Association of the Philippines (UAAP) hard court with a sensational one-hand dunk that made national sports headlines – and now the international sports news as one of the Top 10 Plays for the Night for ESPN Sports Center.

Ricci Rivero’s one-handed dunk was cited by the ESPN Games highlights for September 4 as its 7th Best Play of the Night, the only Philippine and basketball play cited along with baseball, soccer, and tennis matches of the day.

“Number 7, college basketball from the Philippines makes top play!” announced the Sports Center annotator as he described the play off a pass from Jun Manzo to Rivero’s alley-oop one-hand slam dunk as he was moving backwards.

It was Rivero’s first goal in the UAAP Season 82 opener game at the Araneta Coliseum between the UP Fighting Maroons Men’s Basketball Team and the Far Estern University (FEU) Tamaraws squad which UP eventually won with a score of 61-55.

Rivero, best known for his dunking shots, running play, and exciting steals at the UAAP while playing for the De La Salle University Green Archers, returned to the UAAP hardcourt after missing Season 81, now garbed in the Maroons Jersey #25 for the UP Men’s Basketball Team.

UP MBT Coach Bo Perasol, in post-game interviews with media, welcomed Ricci Rivero’s dunk as one that helped excite the crowd in their favor.

“I’d like him to do that because he can, no question about that. David can do that, Javi can do that but after making those shots, they have to be level headed and know that the game is not done yet. What they’ve done there is to excite the crowd,” said Coach Perasol.

Ricci Rivero and the UP Fighting Maroons are aiming to exceed their historic performance in last year’s UAAP Season 81 where the state university team overcame all odds to make its first finals appearance after 32 years and finished with a Silver medal next to defending champions, the Ateneo Blue Eagles.

Prior to their first UAAP Season 82 winning game, the UP Fighting Maroons Men’s Basketball Team won the Buddha’s Light International Association (BLIA) Cup championship title held in Taiwan in July.

Ricci Rivero had also capped a 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 21-year-old Filipino basketball superstar who displayed amazing moves on the FIBA hardcourt.

The UP Maroons take on the UST Growling Tigers on Saturday, September 7 at 4PM, at the Araneta Coliseum.

WATCH Ricci Rivero’s one-hand dunk in this ESPN Sports Center video and SEND #UPFight cheers in the comments below the UP Fighting Maroons for playing a winning game at the UAAP!

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