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Ricci Rivero is first Asian to play as world import in Taiwan's professional basketball league

by Jojo Gabinete
Jul 1, 2022
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Ricci Rivero: "There are nearly 150,000 Filipinos living and working in Taiwan. The mere thought of playing in front of them and be the first to represent them in one of Taiwan’s best basketball leagues is already a big motivation for me to choose Taiwan over other Asian Basketball Leagues."

Sampung buwan mawawala sa Pilipinas ang basketball player-actor na si Ricci Rivero dahil maglalaro siya para sa Taoyuan Pilots ng P. League+, ang men's professional basketball league ng Taiwan.

Si Ricci ang kauna-unahang Asian na maglalaro bilang world import ng P. League+ na hudyat ng pag-uumpisa ng kanyang professional basketball career.

Bago ito ay naglaro si Ricci para sa UP Fighting Maroons ng University of the Philippines UAAP, at itinanghal na kampeon ang kanilang koponan.

Nakatakda sa October 18, 2022 ang paglipad ni Ricci sa Taiwan.

Nangangahulugan itong matagal siyang mawawalay sa kanyang pamilya at sa girlfriend niyang si Andrea Brillantes.

Read: Ricci Rivero, pinag-"YES" si Andrea Brillantes sa harap ng publiko para maging girlfriend niya

Pahayag ni Ricci, “I've been living independently for four years already but this is the first time I'll be away from my family for a long period of time overseas.

“I'm putting my faith to Taiwan's good internet service to cure me from home sickness but my loved ones will definitely visit me once in a while in Taiwan. The visa-free entry is a major advantage.”

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Ipapahinga muna ni Ricci ang kanyang showbiz career dahil sa bagong kabanata ng buhay niya bilang basketball player sa ibang bansa.

Saad niya, “I've been declining showbiz offers since the preparation for the my final UAAP year started.

“And even right after the finals, when all the producers who waited for me asked me again to be cast on local TV shows and movies to be released globally, I humbly begged off.

“While the showbiz industry had been so welcoming during the time that sports world was on a pause due to global pandemic, and while I'm so grateful to all of the entertainment producers and co-actors and fans who generously gave me a space into their industry, I know in my heart that I will not regret choosing my first love which is basketball.”

Paano siya napili para maglaro sa Taoyuan Pilots at kailan nagsimula ang negosasyon?

Ayon kay Ricci, “Binigyan ko po ng importansiya yung ipinakita nilang halaga at tiwala sa puwede kong maitulong sa team. Hindi po sila bumitaw at matiyagang naghintay.

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“Nagsimula po silang lumapit sa Virtual Playground [his management] bago pa lang po mag- UAAP, pero ang naging desisyon ko po noon ay tapusin ang commitment ko sa UP.

“Habang ongoing naman ang UAAP, patuloy pa rin po pala sila nakikipag-usap kay Sir Charlie Dy [his manager].

"Pero wala po akong alam sa offers kasi walang inilalatag sa akin para walang distraction sa season. Nalaman ko na lang po lahat pagkatapos ng championship.

Dagdag niya, “Malaking factor din po na ako ang unang Asian na magiging world import sa P. League. Gusto ko pong tanggapin yung challenge na ito para simulan ang professional career ko po sa basketball.”

Kasama ni Ricci ang kanyang pamilya sa pagdarasal sa Diyos para sa desisyong ginawa niya.

Isang malaking karangalan para kay Ricci na maglaro sa P. League+ at maging miyembro ng Taoyuan Pilots dahil alam niyang marami ang mga Pilipino na naninirahan sa Taiwan.

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“I am deeply honored," sambit ng 24-year-old basketball player.

"The trust given by the Pilots to have me on their team as the very first Asian to become world import in the P. League+ is also a sign of their confidence to the basketball program of the Philippines.

“I am excited to work hard and contribute the best way I can.

"There are nearly 150,000 Filipinos living and working in Taiwan.

"The mere thought of playing in front of them and be the first to represent them in one of Taiwan’s best basketball leagues is already a big motivation for me to choose Taiwan over other Asian Basketball Leagues.

“I know that the adjustment of moving away from my home country will be difficult but with the support of the Filipinos there, I believe I won’t feel alone.”

Hindi nakikita ni Ricci na magkakaroon siya ng language barrier sa matagal na pamamalagi sa Taiwan dahil nakakaintindi siya ng salita ng mga Chinese, na pag-aaralan niyang mabuti para madagdagan ang kanyang kaalaman.

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Aniya, “A percentage of Chinese runs in the blood. My mom's surname is Uy.

"We've been using Chinese terms since I was a kid. If that would sound a good start for a smooth immersion, I think I'm lucky.

“But yes, I'll for sure double up on studying even before I leave in October. 18.”

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Ricci Rivero: "There are nearly 150,000 Filipinos living and working in Taiwan. The mere thought of playing in front of them and be the first to represent them in one of Taiwan’s best basketball leagues is already a big motivation for me to choose Taiwan over other Asian Basketball Leagues."
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