The date was September 4, 2019. The very first gameday of Season 82. There was excitement with a whiff of tension in the air because of the new Fighting Maroon team trying to make it back to the finals. There were new names like Kobe Paras and Ricci Rivero. There were too many questions. Too many doubts.
Then…Ricci snapped. Ricci soared. Ricci broke the internet.
The clip of Jun Manzo throwing the alley-oop to Ricci was viewed a million times over. It was the lob heard all over the world.
Can you still hear it now?
“People are really going to talk about that dunk since it was my first game and first points as a Fighting Maroon. Everyone probably got shocked with the way I got my first points, but we always have to be prepared,” Ricci told SLAM Philippines, more than two years later.
“We’re basketball players and we have to be ready to take those chances the opponent gives you. It was definitely fun. But after that play, my focus immediately switched back to defense.”
Jun Manzo on the Last Time Ricci Broke the Internet:
“Ang naisip ko lang that time, itapon ko lang ‘yung bola kay Ricci. Expected ko naman na makukuha niya ‘yung lob pero ‘yung hindi ko in-expect na ganun gagawin niya. Akala ko simple lob lang.
Ang naalala ko, never namin napag-usapan ‘yung play na ‘yun kahit sumikat ‘yun ng sobra.
Sana mas higitan pa ni Ricci ‘yung highlights niya this coming UAAP season.”
(Ricci dunk art by Aljan Cuya; Typography by Peter Andrew Prado)