Rivero reaches out to longtime fan

University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons guard Ricci Rivero celebrated his birthday by reaching out to a longtime fan who is a cancer patient.

Rivero, who turned 22 on Sunday, reconnected with avid fan Freslee Salazar, an 18-year-old cancer patient, through a video chat. The online meeting was featured in the initial offering of Riviero’s Youtube channel titled “Ricci Rivero Playground”.

The virtual meeting was arranged by Salazar’s cousin Felyn Rose Piamonte.

“It’s my 22nd birthday and this is one of the most meaningful celebrations I had in my life. Speaking to Felyn and Freslee from Iloilo and seeing her smile made my birthday so special. It gave that sense of fulfillment that I am blessed to be able to reach out happiness to anyone who needs it in any way I can,” said Rivero in a Facebook post.

“This moment taught me that birthdays are really a celebration of life and that it can be memorable without any grandeur,” he added.

Salazar showered her idol with words of gratitude.

“Best night ever!” said Salazar in a post on her Facebook account.

“No words can express my feeling right now, from the moment we talked until now parang natutulala pa rin ako at hindi makapaniwala na nagkausap tayo (I’m still stunned and can’t believe that we really had a conversation).”

Rivero, a member of the Gilas Pilipinas Cadet 23 for ’23, is in his second year at UP after transferring from De La Salle University.

The flamboyant guard helped the Fighting Maroons book a second straight Final Four appearance in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines, though UP faltered in its attempt to return to the finals.

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