Former University of the Philippines star Ricci Rivero flew to Taiwan on Monday to begin his journey as an import for the Taoyuan Pilots in the P.League+.
Rivero, who departed from Manila at 10:35 a.m. via China Air, joined a growing number of Filipino cagers who are taking their acts abroad.
“I know I’m taking a difficult career path playing in Taiwan away from my family and friends. But it has always been my dream to compete and represent the country abroad,” said Rivero, who was instrumental in the Fighting Maroons’ championship run in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines that ended UP’s 36-year title drought.
The 6-foot-1guard will undergo a mandatory seven-day quarantine once he arrives in Taoyuan.
He will then join the Pilots in training as they prepare for the P.League+ season.
Rivero will boost the Pilots’ firepower as the squad is looking to improve from its 7-22 record at sixth place in the previous season. His arrival could also draw more Filipino fans to support the league.
“I know that the adjustment of moving away from my home country will be difficult but with the support of over 150,000 Filipinos working and living there, I believe I won’t feel alone,” Rivero said.
The Ilagan, Isabela native joined other former UAAP stars to ride the international pro basketball scene bus.
Justine Baltazar of De La Salle University has signed with Hiroshima in the Japan B.League while inking deals in Korean Basketball League are RJ Abarrientos of Far Eastern University and SJ Belangel of Ateneo.
Rivero is cleared to suit up for the Pilots as he has no existing contract in any league in the Philippines.