MANILA, Philippines — Ricci Rivero is taking his act to Taiwan as the first Asian to play as a world import in the P.League+.
The University of the Philippines standout signed with the Taoyuan Pilots for the 2022-23 season.
Rivero chose Taoyuan among all the offers because he said the team believes in him and patiently waited for him to finish his final playing year with the Fighting Maroons, who ruled the UAAP Season 84 men’s basketball.
“Binigyan ko po ng importansya yung pinakita nilang halaga at tiwala sa pwede kong maitulong sa team,” Rivero told Inquirer Sports. “Hindi po sila bumitaw at matiyagang naghintay.”
[I wanted to return the trust and confidence they have given me. They believe that I can help the team. They never gave up on me and patiently waited.]
The 6-foot-1 guard is also up for the challenge of being a world import in his first professional basketball stint.
“Being the first Asian to play as World Import in the P.League was also a huge factor. I want to embrace this kind of challenge as my professional career begins,” he said in Filipino.
The 24-year-old is eager to help Taoyuan rise from its 7-22 record good for sixth place in the previous P.League+ season.
Rivero is having a historic year so far as he became the only UAAP player to win championships from two different schools after helping UP earn its first championship since 1986.
The pride of Ilagan, Isabela won his first championship during his rookie season at La Salle in 2016 and ended his UAAP career with a historic title for the Fighting Maroons.
Rivero averaged 13.78 points, 4.17 rebounds, 2.17 assists, 1.72 steals, and 0.72 blocks in his final collegiate season.
The celebrity basketball star became the latest UAAP standout set to play abroad, joining La Salle’s Justine Baltazar playing for Hiroshima in Japan B.League, Ateneo’s SJ Belangel and Far Eastern University’s RJ Abarrientos, who will both play in the Korean Basketball League.
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