MANILA, Philippines — Ricci Rivero stressed on Monday night that he remains a student of De La Salle University, after the school announced that he is on leave from the men’s basketball team.
Last Friday, the university announced that Rivero, along with his brother Prince and teammate Brent Paraiso, are on leave from the Green Archers because of various endorsement deals that they have to honor.
“As of now 'yun talaga, I still attend classes everyday. And then nag-ask lang kami ng leave of absence first doon sa training and then 'yun... feel ko naman nasa La Salle pa rin naman ako,” Rivero said as he geared up to practice with the Gilas Pilipinas national team for the first time.
Almost immediately after it was announced that they are on leave, rumors surfaced that Rivero was on his way out of the Green Archers — and possibly headed to a different university.
However, the athletic swingman insisted that this was not the case.
“Wala pa namang ganung issue. As of now 'yun pa rin. Nag-ask lang kami ng leave of absence. I’m still enrolled and I’m still going to class everyday,” he explained.
Unfortunately for Rivero, the team’s new rule that forbids players from signing endorsement deals means he cannot practice with the Green Archers.
At the same time, he cannot turn his back on the contracts that he had already signed.
“Kasi doon sa new policy nga ng La Salle na bawal 'yung endorsements and all, eh even before that pa, I signed na 'yung mga contracts. So 'yung side ko siguro parang mahirap naman na nag yes na ko and all, tapos biglang 'di ko na lang siya gagawin,” explained Rivero, who earned Mythical Team honors in UAAP Season 80.
“So I asked sila coach if puwede. Sabi nila, OK lang naman mag-leave na lang muna para matapos kasi nakakahiya rin doon sa ibang brands,” he said, adding that he signed deals with Titan, Aquafina, and Gatorade among others.
The new rule admittedly took Rivero by surprise, especially as endorsements had never been an issue before.
What further shocked Rivero was the timing of the rule’s implementation. The player noted that he would understand if they were barred from endorsements during the UAAP season, so as to focus on their campaign.
“Pero nagulat ako mismo nung kaka-start pa lang ng training namin tapos 'yun 'yung agad na sinabi,” said Rivero, who was the player most affected by the new rule.
Because he cannot practice with the Green Archers, Rivero asked permission if he can join the Gilas training and was given a go signal.
“Nag-ask naman ako. Sabi nila if may lalaruan ako or training, sabihin ko muna sa kanila. So 'yun, in-ask ko 'yung Gilas nga if pwede na ko mag-training. Sabi nila, sige, puwede na muna, and then update na lang,” said Rivero.
He intends to practice with other teams as well, but insists he is not trying out with another squad.
”Basta ito lang muna,” Rivero said, referring to Gilas practice. “And then... siguro training muna ako sa ibang teams na puwede ako makatulong or may puwede akong laruan, ganun.”
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