Ricci Rivero finally joins Gilas practice, not as an observer but as a participant. he was in full playing gear last night, with the word “Pilipinas” across his chest.
Ricci Rivero is officially attending his first Gilas Pilipinas practice pic.twitter.com/P6gzjuGQnP
— Yoyo Sarmenta (@yo_sarmenta) February 5, 2018
Initially, Rivero wasn’t part of the #23for23 Gilas pool because La Salle requested their players to be excluded from the pool due to the transition of the team from coach Aldin Ayo to coach Louie Gonzales. But just last week, it was reported that Rivero was cleared by the Green Archers to join the practices.
“He came to tell us that he’s been allowed. But we haven’t gotten any official word yet from La Salle, we’re just waiting,” said Gilas head coach Chot Reyes about Rivero joining the practices.
A few days after that report, news broke about Ricci along with his brother Prince and teammate Brent Paraiso, taking a leave of absence from the Green Archers due to a conflict with a new rule regarding endorsements. Based on the statement by the DLSU Office of Sports Development (OSD), the Rivero brothers and Paraiso requested to take a leave from the team to fulfill their contractual obligations to existing endorsements.
Several rumors have spread since that report regarding the Riveros transferring to another school. Yesterday during the Gilas practice, Ricci shut down those rumors. In a video by Randoph Leongson of Inquirer Sports.
.@RicciRivero06 clarifies that as of now, he’s still enrolled in La Salle and reiterated that he just asked to take a leave of absence due to the new school policy regarding player endorsements. pic.twitter.com/ZzQ3buG9zH
— Randolph B. Leongson (@RLeongsonINQ) February 5, 2018
Rivero denied that he is transferring saying, “Wala. Wala pa namang ganung issue. As of now, nasa La Salle parin ako. Nag-ask lang ako ng leave of absence.”
“I’m still enrolled, still going to class everyday,” Rivero added, confirming the statement released by DLSU OSD.
According to the the report, Rivero was surprised that the new policy was implemented as early as last week. He thought that the policy would take effect when the new UAAP season starts.
“We’re surprised because we expected them to tell us to not have those endorsement deals during the season so that we’re more focused with the new coach and all.”