MANILA – The world saw what you did, Ricci Rivero.
Rivero made sure his first game in the UAAP wearing a University of the Philippines (UP) jersey would be one for the books as he scored his first two points via an emphatic alley-oop play, posterizing Far Eastern University's (FEU) defenders.
On Wednesday, Rivero announced his return to the UAAP by completing an alley-oop play off Jun Manzo's assist at the 7:05 mark of the opening period, much to the delight of the UP fans at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
UP's defense intercepted an FEU pass, which prompted Manzo to carry the ball until the free throw line before throwing a lob pass to Rivero en route to a one-handed jam.
The early dunk-of-the-year candidate created a huge buzz on social media not just in the Philippines but even abroad as several US-based sports websites retweeted and re-posted Rivero’s highlight play.
Bleacher Report said, “THIS DUNK IS WILD.”
ESPN and Yahoo Sports were also impressed with the dunk, calling it “dunk of the year.”
Rivero, a transferee from De La Salle University, finished with seven points in his UP debut in the UAAP. UP also survived FEU Tamaraws' late surge, 61-55, to clinch its first win of the season.
Rivero downplayed the play, saying the team should not focus on just one basket. He reminded his teammates to stay in the game and return to their defense position after the point.
"It’s not the highlight whatsoever," Rivero said. "We can’t dwell on what we’re feeling. Kailangan maging mas mag-rely kami sa what’s happening sa game."
But Rivero assured that should he get another chance to repeat the play, he would take the opportunity to make one anew.
"If may chance, ganun talaga. We have to grab the opportunities pero syempre ganun nga dun pa rin kami sa mas ano kailangan," he said.
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