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    Ricci Rivero declines to comment on whether the ban on Jack Santiago was fair.
    PHOTO: UAAP

    RICCI Rivero is hopeful that the incident involving coach Jack Santiago is just a momentary lapse of judgment as he still holds the University of the East mentor in high regard.

    "Coach Jack and I, together with [assistant] coach Jamike [Jarin], are friends and I have so much respect for them. I just hope he’s not serious when he said that," the University of the Philippines guard said in a statement.

    Santiago was handed a two-game suspension for instructing the Red Warriors to "harm" Rivero in UP's 81-66 win over UE last Saturday.

    Rivero had 14 points on 3-of-7 clip from downtown, to go with three rebounds and three steals to carry the Fighting Maroons to their third straight win.

    Jack Santiago

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    A three-game ban was recommended but coach Jack Santiago was handed a two-game suspension.

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      Rivero leaves the judgment to commissioner Tonichi Pujante and declined to comment on whether the ban was fair.

      "I will leave the decision to the Commissioner and the UAAP Board. I trust that they know what’s best for us athletes and the league," he said.

      Rivero is hoping the parties and the league as a whole would learn that violence has no place in the sport.

      "Basketball taught me to be a good sportsman. Winning is more prized when you play it clean," he stated, while also looking to put this chapter behind him.

      "I don’t think it will affect me because I believe that intentionally hurting someone will not help you win. I will just focus on our goal this season and leave it all to God to watch over me," he ended.

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      Ricci Rivero declines to comment on whether the ban on Jack Santiago was fair.
      PHOTO: UAAP
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