by CJ Dominguiano
With countless brand endorsements and media features under his belt, Ricci Rivero, known for his side steps in the court, has skyrocketed to fame. After taking the UAAP by storm owing to his breakout performance with his former team, the De La Salle Green Archers, the player has fast become a household name and a basketball star of his generation.
We haven’t seen much of this hotshot last season since he was serving his one-year residency in his new home, the University of the Philippines. At the same time, Ricci was busy entering a new and exciting venture—that is making his acting debut in the silver screen.
“I’m really into something new kasi that’s why I really tried doing things that excite me the most which is acting,” Ricci says, then adds “So ‘yun, sobrang na-enjoy ko lang din na may ginagawa akong ibang bagay besides basketball.”
Drawn into the craft with his love for local films, the cager considers acting as one of his passions and gushes that he is a KathNiel fan like most of us. Asked about his favorite Filipino movie, he blurts out “Barcelona,” the 2016 romantic-drama starring Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla.
After his successful foray into show business last year, Ricci admits he wants to try doing an action movie next although he dubs himself as a rom-com type of guy. With the new season of UAAP, however, Rivero is putting these plans on hold because he wants to get his head in the game.
“I stopped because of UAAP, but I’ve read a few scripts na rin. Sana after this season, if mabigyan ng chance, why not?” Ricci answers, when asked about his plans on pushing on with his acting career.
The student-athlete, who had his break with ABS-CBN Sport+Action’s Upfront, shares that he learned so much both from acting and hosting.
Behind the swingman’s cool, calm, and collected demeanor, he admits that throwing himself into these extracurricular activities and juggling it with training and studying is a balancing act at its finest. He goes on to share that he has less time for rest and sleeps whenever he gets the chance. “It’s really hard,” he confessed. “But it’s all about knowing your priorities.”
Growing up watching his father and brothers play, the athlete thoroughly enjoyed basketball when he was eight years old. What started out as a friendly street game turned out to be a life-changing experience for Ricci who claims that basketball made him a better individual.
“Kailangan yung disciplin, yung respeto not just sa teammates mo and sa coaches but also sa opponents, and sa crowd. For me, when I step off the court kailangan i-apply ko pa rin lahat yun kasi hindi naman siya applicable just on the court kasi makakatulong rin siya sa akin for me as a person and not just an athlete,” the sportsman tells Chalk.
At this stage of the game, Ricci is getting ready for the season by training at least twice a day with his team. He also shared that he’s excited to further strengthen the bond with his teammates as the season advances. “Siguro mas mabubuo pa yung samahan namin during kasi andun 'yung how we treat each other after a win or after a bad game.”
Seeing the spirit and passion of the fans of his new team wherever they go, he says the UP Fighting Maroons enjoy the fact they are able to put smiles on people’s faces and are more motivated to go all in this season.
“Sobrang nakakatuwa kasi kahit saan kami halos pumunta ang daming supporters na namemeet namin. The way they support us is all in talaga,” the Fighting Maroon newcomer remarked. “So, for me, parang walang chance na magrerelax pa kami kasi nga yung mga supporters namin ganoon sila sumuporta. How much more yung kami na kung sino talaga yung dapat mas magperform? Kailangan talaga ibigay namin lahat.”
Recognized for having a hand in his former team’s championship title in Season 79 and landing a spot in the Mythical Five in Season 80, the ace player promises to give his best shot this season.
“Wherever I play naman I always give my best kasi basketball isn’t just basketball, especially to us players. Basketball means so much to us. And for sure, I’ll be giving my best naman in each and every game,” he guarantees.
In the past, when he was still a rookie, Ricci recollects how he would listen to his seniors. This time around, he considers himself more of a leader and a “kuya” to his younger teammates.
After training last year alongside Gilas Pilipinas, the national basketball team, everyone can expect a “more mature and hungrier” Ricci Rivero. The Fighting Maroon is pulling out all the stops in his long-awaited comeback, and he’s not giving up without a fight.
Photographed by Miguel Alomajan
Creative Direction by Madel Asuncion
Art Direction by Mikka Caronan
Styled by Ryuji Shiomitsu
Grooming by Muriel Vega-Perez and team
Video by Lui Jimenez, Produced by Deiniel Cuvin
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