Supporters take to Change.org to file pro-Ayo petition
MANILA – Amid a frustrating UAAP season, UST Growling Tigers fans and university are seeking the return of former basketball head coach Aldin Ayo through an online petition.
The Varsitarian, the official campus publication of UST, reported on Thursday that the petition was initiated on the website Change.org to call on the university's rector, Fr. Richard Ang, to hire back Ayo.
It said Tigers' Sherwin Concepcion, Nic Cabañero, JJ Gesalem, and team captain Paul Manalang were among those who signed the petition. They also took to social media to urge Thomasians to sign it.
Even the team's incumbent coach, Jinino Manansala, who also served as Ayo's assistant, shared the petition on his Twitter account.
Several UST fan pages have also spread the petition on social media, the Varsitarian reported.
Ayo, who led the Tigers to the UAAP finals in Season 82, resigned as their head coach in 2020 after holding a controversial training camp for the team in Sorsogon City, at a time when a COVID-19 pandemic forced government to ban any similar gatherings.
The so-called "Sorsogon bubble" was inadvertently publicized when then UST star CJ Cansino announced he was joining University of the Philippines after he was apparently removed by Ayo from the squad.
That incident snowballed, as other Tiger players left the squad and an investigation was launched by UST, the UAAP and even the Joint Administrative Order group consisting of several government agencies.
Ayo was banned indefinitely from the UAAP after a body composed of the presidents of eight universities recommended sanctions against him for his role in the controversial bubble.
The Varsitarian has reported that "multiple sources within the Tigers have told (it) that the UAAP is only waiting on Ang’s decision for the league to lift its indefinite ban on Ayo."
As of writing time, 1,786 have signed the petition.
Since Ayo's resignation and the UAAP ban, the young Tigers have been playing disappointingly. On Thursday, they lost by 50 points to the Ateneo Blue Eagles, leading to a 3-7 win-loss record.