MANILA, Philippines — De La Salle University’s Ricci Rivero on Wednesday firmly denied the rumors that his removal from their men’s basketball team stemmed from drug use.
Rivero along with his older brother Prince and teammate Brent Paraiso all had to take a leave of absence from the Green Archers, with La Salle saying it was due to a policy that barred players from signing endorsement deals.
It was a blow to Rivero, who was coming off a breakout campaign that saw him earn Mythical Team honors in UAAP Season 80. It was also a blow to La Salle as Rivero was expected to be a major pillar of the Green Archers as they rebuilt following the exit of Ben Mbala and Coach Aldin Ayo.
However, there were also plenty of unfounded rumors that Rivero had been tested positive for drugs, which the young player finally and definitively denied in an emotional statement posted on his social media account on Wednesday morning.
“I am negative to all types of substances, contrary to initial reports,” said Rivero. “I never took drugs and will never try it.”
Rivero also released a copy of his drug test, done by Omega Laboratories, showing that he is indeed negative for a variety of drugs including cocaine and opiates.
He submitted himself to the drug test on January 20, and got the results on February 9. Rivero has submitted the results of the test to DLSU.
Read Rivero’s full statement here:
This is the result of Rivero’s drug test.
As it stands, Rivero’s future is still uncertain. He is still diligently attending classes in La Salle, but a source told ABS-CBN News that Rivero has not stepped foot inside their practice facility since going on his leave of absence.
More than anything, however, Rivero just wants to move forward.
“Behind this hype, behind this controversies is the same kid, 10 years ago, who just wants to play and shoot that ball,” he said. “How I wished things will not be complicated, because all I pray for is simply to provide for my family and my future.”