MANILA, Philippines—University of the Philippines (UP) star Ricci Rivero made light of the scrapes he sustained in his right hand after apparently hitting the LED boards at Araneta Coliseum.
The incident occurred in the fourth quarter of the Fighting Maroons' stepladder semifinal game against University of Santo Tomas, with his team trying to catch up to the Growling Tigers. Rivero tried to go for a putback dunk off a miss by Kobe Paras, but missed.
His frustration boiled over and the guard was seen hitting the LED boards along the court. Rivero paid for it, as he had to be subbed out after scraping his hand. He later returned to the game, scoring 6 points in the final two minutes, though his efforts came too late as UST secured an 89-69 win to force a do-or-die game for a spot in the UAAP Season 82 Finals.
When asked about his wounds after the game, Rivero quickly downplayed the incident.
"Accidents happen," said Rivero, who had 12 points on 6-of-16 shooting. "I'm fine. Nothing serious."
UP head coach Bo Perasol was seen addressing the guard after the game, sending a heated message to Rivero while the UST players were singing their school hymn. The coach said afterward that he simply wanted Rivero to play better.
"Well, I told them, ‘We cannot play that way.’ If we are going to bow down and the others are on the other side, what message are you telling them?," said Perasol.
"OK, probably you beat us, but we did something that is good, that’s why we are in this position. We are given another chance, so, the attitude should be, ‘I have one more chance against you'."
He was not too pleased with the kind of attitude shown by his players after the loss, and wanted them to correct it immediately.
"Don't bow down," Perasol stressed. "Sinabi mo kasi, siyempre kalaban 'yan. Pag yumuko ka, 'di talo ka na."
UP still has one more chance to advance to the finals, where defending champion Ateneo is already waiting.
"We just have to want it more," Rivero said of the do-or-die game said on Wednesday.
"We're gonna give it our all," he vowed.
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