MANILA, Philippines – After weeks of speculation and rumors, University of Santo Tomas on Monday (UST) officially welcomed Aldin Ayo as the new head coach of its men's basketball program.
In a statement made by the university's Institute of Physical Education and Athletics (IPEA), UST formally named Ayo as the new Growling Tigers head coach, taking over the post vacated by Boy Sablan.
A previous report by The Varsitarian, the school's official publication, said that Ayo will coach the Growling Tigers for six seasons.
In its statement, the IPEA said it sought Ayo's services for two key reasons.
"First, the basketball program that he espouses is based on discipline that gives primary importance to the academic life of the student-athletes, believing that athletes who are hardworking in their studies are likewise those who are able to handle themselves properly both on and off the court," said the school.
"This is the same ideal that UST has constantly advocated since the inception of its athletic program," it added.
"Second, Coach Ayo is a well-accomplished coach who is likewise more than willing to accommodate the university's modest salary scheme, thus demonstrating that his desire to provide proper guidance to his players in this educative process outweighs all else."
UST will be Ayo's third school in four years. He broke into the Manila coaching scene in 2015 when he led his alma mater, Colegio de San Juan de Letran, to the NCAA Season 91 title. Soon after, he jumped ship to De La Salle University in the UAAP.
Ayo steered the Green Archers to a dominant 2016 campaign that included a run to the UAAP Season 79 title. They settled for a runner-up finish in 2017, however, as they lost to archrival Ateneo de Manila University in the UAAP Season 80 finals.
Just a couple of weeks after the men's basketball tournament ended, it was confirmed that Ayo had left La Salle. The coach later said that "differences" in how to handle the team led to his departure.
Ayo will take over a UST squad that is reeling from its worst campaign in history. The Growling Tigers managed only one victory in Season 80.
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