UP Fighting Maroons video sends off Ricci Rivero as UAAP champion joins Taiwan Pro Basketball League

Ricci Rivero Taiwan Pro Basketball League
Ricci Rivero retires his UP Fighting Maroons Jersey #25 and dons the Taoyuan Pilots’ pro league uniform. UPMBT and Virtual Playground photos.

The University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons is sending off Ricci Rivero to the Taiwan Professional Basketball League (P.League+) with a tribute video of his journey with the state university team.

The UP Men’s Basketball Team (UP MBT) social media posted the video of Rivero’s message to the UP community together with the highlights of his time with the Diliman squad including his key plays during the historic win of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) Season 84 Championship.

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The two-time UAAP champion star player had just wrapped up his stint in the collegiate basketball league after UP won its first UAAP crown in 36 years while ending the reign of the Ateneo Blue Eagles.

Rivero joined the UP Fighting Maroons in 2018 after transferring from De La Salle University where he was part of another UAAP championship team (2016). In the UP MBT video posted on June 27, 2022, the 24-year-old star player thanked the UP community for welcoming him during what he said was the lowest point of his career.

“Sobrang nakakataba ng puso. Sobrang na appreciate ko po na nung one of the lowest points of my career siguro when I left La Salle… Nagkaroon po ako ng guts at mas na boost po yung confidence ko because of you guys,” Rivero said at the start of the video.

UP MBT said Rivero repaid the welcome by playing a vital role in the team’s quest for a basketball crown. The team also referred to Rivero as “UP’s version of Mr. Excitement”, a moniker that the 6-foot-1 shooting guard earned for his fancy hoop drives that thrilled fans and enthusiasts.

“Ricci gave everything he’s got to help the Fighting Maroons end their 36-year drought for a UAAP crown. On top of his contributions on the court, Ricci also dished out a precious assist off court, serving and giving back to the community,” the video caption stated.

It also mentioned how Rivero used his last season to raise funds for UP Ikot drivers whose livelihoods were gravely affected as schools were closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The initiative was not surprising as Rivero and his family in Ilagan, Isabela had been helping their needy neighbors during the lockdown.

OFF TO THE PRO LEAGUE

Three days earlier on June 24, Ricci Rivero’s sports management agency Virtual Playground announced that the basketball champion had signed up to join the Taiwanese Professional Basketball League (P.League+) Taoyuan Pilots as its world import – another historic feat as the first Filipino to play in the young league established in 2020.

In media interviews, the FIBA star player explained his choice of the Taiwan P.League+ among many other international league offers.

“They remained consistent on appreciating my value as a player and how they’re putting their trust in Filipinos. I also wanted to challenge myself in all aspects of being the first Filipino to play in P.League+,” Rivero told Tiebreaker Times.

https://twitter.com/VPlaygroundPH/status/1540240940832792576?s=20&t=nX7VvcXwrKRcfH6B-XS8AQ

Rivero had already played before the Taiwan audience in 2017 when his La Salle team won the Buddha’s Light International Association Cup and where he was awarded the Most Excellent Player of the tournament.

Ricci Rivero is scheduled to join the Pilots by October.

WATCH the UP Fighting Maroons video tribute and SEND WELL WISHES to Ricci Rivero as he joins the Taiwan P. League!

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Angie is a self-confessed reformed news critic who vows she has finally found infinite value in delivering the good news. She teaches students of all ages how to make the important interesting for audiences across media platforms.