When the list of 23 players who will join the Gilas pool was first made public, there were many questions regarding the exclusion of La Salle’s Ricci Rivero. Many basketball fans were surprised that the talented athletic wing man was not in the list that included some of the best amateur players in the country.
Gilas Pilipinas head coach Chot Reyes clarified that he wanted to include Rivero but did not because La Salle requested to allow their players to focus on their squad as they transition to their new system featuring a new head coach.
Rivero might have been excluded from the list but he made a huge statement about his willingness to join the pool by showing up at their first practice, Monday night, at the Meralco Gym.
Rivero stayed at the sidelines as Gilas started practice but was later on introduced to SBP heads Manny V. Pangilinan, Al Panlilio, and Sonny Barrios.
“They’ve really been in touch since the list came out,” said Reyes after practice. “We had to explain the situation with the school and they asked if they can tryout, but it has to be something we talk about with their school. But still, they came in their own volition and sa akin naman, we’re all inclusive.”
Rivero did not suit up for practice but he he stayed until the end as he sat on the baseline as an observer.
“Wala naman tayong di pinapayagan, di pinapapunta but that’s a different discussion altogether. It remains to be seen what will happen in the next couple of weeks,” Reyes said about the possibility of Rivero joining the team in the near future.