A retired jersey and a championship, two of the biggest dreams a player can ever hope for. Both are realities to Renren Ritualo dubbed as the “Rainman” after winning not just one, but four championships in a Green-and-White jersey.
Playing under the famous Franz Pumaren’s system, he was one of the go-to guys as they completed the DLSU’s four-peat in the UAAP Men’s basketball. He is now one of the most illustrious Cagers, having his number four jersey hanged up at the ninth floor of the Enrique Razon Sports Complex.
Florendo Ritualo Jr, known as “Ren-ren” is the third player to have his jersey retired for DLSU after the likes of basketball greats Lim Eng Beng and Kurt Bachmann. Renren grew up idolizing a former PBA player, his father, Florendo Ritualo Sr. This 6’2” stalwart also looked up to the likes of the National Basketball Association’s Michael Jordan, Alvin Patrimonio and Jerry Meneses who influenced his basketball career.
Ritualo started out his athletic career as a guard for the San Beda Red Cubs. He then went on to represent Green-and-White because of the University’s quality education and acknowledged sports program. While playing for the Taft-based squad, he played for Tanduay and Welcoat in the Philippine Basketball League (PBL), leading the Welcoat franchise to three titles from 1999-2001. After, he was named one of PBL’s greatest players of all time.
Before jumping into the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) field, the former King Archer first donned the national colors where he excelled in a Las Vegas exhibition game. Ritualo drained an amazing nine triples; reports said that NBA teams such as the New Jersey Nets and Philadelphia 76ers scouted him.
Ritualo then went on to be selected as the eighth overall pick in the 2002 PBA draft by FedEx Express; he won the 2002 Rookie of the Year award and Sixth Man of the Year award. After being traded to and from by teams like Meralco, Powerade, Talk and Text, and Air 21, it was when he suited up for Talk and Text that he won his first PBA championship.
“Every game and every practice is really a moment for me. We had so many championships and choosing one would be hard so those two were really important to mek,” Ritualo shared.
With numerous titles and feats under his belt, Ritualo found it hard to pin point his favorite basketball moment. Ritualo, however, remembers the glory days, boasting for his alma mater and taking pride for the Green-and-White.
“I miss the banging of the drums, the support of the crowd, the support the Lasallian community gives us kasi sobrang loyal nila [because they are so loyal] that’s what I miss the most,” Ritualo added.
He spent his last playing year to chase history. Those four championships did not come easy to them as they faced a powerhouse Ateneo line-up for the title in 2001.
“I am very thankful and honored to have my jersey retired. Nakaka-gaan ng loob na nakatulong ako sa institution natin [It feels great to know that I helped our institution],” says Ritualo about his jersey being retired.
Now, The Rainman is reunited with Coach Franz in the newest PBA ballclub Shopinas.com Clickers, he is thrilled to play under a familiar system of basketball.
“Expect championships to come as long as the whole Lasallian community is behind us even if you guys are wearing green,” he kidded.
P.S. Regarding the Green Archers dreary 6th place UAAP finish – “They need a lot of improvement. They have a lot of room to improve. We should look at it in a positive way,” Ritualo ended.