UAAP: Aldin Ayo steps down as Growling Tigers head coach


Posted at Sep 04 2020 09:53 PM | Updated as of Sep 05 2020 12:29 AM

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COACHING TIMELINE — 2015. Ayo celebrates Letran winning the NCAA 91 championship.Arvin Lim, ABS-CBN Sports/file

COACHING TIMELINE — 2016. After guiding the Knights to the title the previous year, Ayo took his golden touch with him to Taft in the UAAP, leading La Salle to the Season 79 championship. ABS-CBN News/file

COACHING TIMELINE — 2017. Following La Salle’s loss to Ateneo in the Season 80 title series, Ayo bid farewell to the Green Archers and transferred to UST. Richard Esguerra, ABS-CBN Sports/file

COACHING TIMELINE — 2018. After UST beat FEU on September 12, 2018 for his first win calling the shots for the Tigers, Ayo couldn’t control his emotions. UST placed 6th in Season 81 with a 5-9 record. Arvin Lim, ABS-CBN Sports/file

COACHING TIMELINE — 2019. Ayo gave the Tigers faithful a glimpse of what he can do at the helm after he guided UST to the Season 82 finals against Tab Baldwin and Ateneo. ABS-CBN Sports/file

Aldin Ayo has resigned as the men's basketball head coach of University of Santo Tomas, he announced in a statement posted by The Varsitarian on Twitter Friday night.

Considered one of the most successful coaches in the college ranks and tasked to handle a promising program, Ayo saw his time at UST end unceremoniously after holding a training camp for the Growling Tigers in his home province in Bicol in June.

Any other time that would have not been a problem, except a COVID-19 pandemic has forced government to ban any similar gatherings.

“I have tendered my resignation as head coach of the UST men’s basketball team,” Ayo wrote.

“I deeply apologize to all those who have adversely affected by our activity and unnecessarily exposed to much condemnation especially the university.

"I take responsibility for my action and shall face the appropriate sanctions. And I shall go for a personal retreat.

“I thank the UST community for their faith and the continued support for the team.”

The so-called "Sorsogon bubble" was inadvertently publicized when CJ Cansino announced on August 21 that he was joining University of the Philippines after he was apparently removed by Ayo from the UST squad.

Cansino had said that he and his teammates had wanted to go home from the Tigers camp.

That incident has snowballed into other Tigers leaving the squad and an investigation being undertaken by UST, the UAAP and even the Joint Administrative Order group consisting of several government agencies.

Ayo's last major competition coaching UST was when the Tigers lost to the Ateneo Blue Eagles in the UAAP Season 82 finals.

That was the third time Ayo guided a school to the title series, following a championship with the Letran Knights in the NCAA and the La Salle Green Archers.

In January 2018, Ayo confirmed moving to UST, a traditionally winning school that floundered but welcomed Ayo as somebody who can return the program to its glory days.

Following an uneventful first year at España, Ayo helped to recruit promising young talent, melded them with team veterans, and formed a gritty squad that made noise in Season 82, highlighted by the Tigers' elimination of the UP Fighting Maroons in the final 4 and consequently a finals appearance.

Ayo's resignation and the departure of Cansino and others mean that UST would have to start over.

Right now, the university's on-court issues may not be foremost in its mind.

With government agencies such as the Department of Health, the Games and Amusements Board, the Commission on Higher Education, and the Philippine Sports Commission all looking into the Sorsogon camp, penalties on the school are possible if it is found culpable allowing the team to practice even as a ban was in place.