I would say that your friend has given you some good advice and that pineapple juice would be another good choice to try.
I think that if you use sweet ingredients (apple juice, pineapple juice, ginger ale, etc.) you will be okay.
I don't think that you want to use acid based marinades on ribs as they are probably a bit too delicate and vinegar marinades will "cook" them in the pan.
As I said, I liked the Orange Juice, Ginger Ale, Ranch Dressing, and Soy Sauce recipe.