UST to investigate alleged ‘bubble’ training camp of Growling Tigers in Sorsogon

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 23)— The University of Santo Tomas is set to investigate the alleged COVID-19 quarantine violations of its men’s basketball team— after the squad reportedly held a training camp in Sorsogon amid the pandemic.

In a statement on Sunday, UST said it has created a committee to “investigate and inquire into the matter.”

“Today we heard the news about the alleged breach of quarantine protocols by the UST Basketball Team in Sorsogon… While we adhere to the belief that physical activity can have a profoundly positive impact on the students’ physical and mental health, we believe that the undertaking should be done in compliance with the guidelines issued by the government,” UST shared on its official social media pages.

The España-based university stressed that it fully supports the national government’s efforts to help control the spread of the virus, adding that that the management will not tolerate “any form of violation” of the lockdown protocols.

“We wish to assure you that the University does not tolerate any form of violation of government regulation, and it responds promptly by taking the appropriate action,” UST added.

In a statement released via social media on Sunday the Growling Tigers' coach Aldin Ayo said he would not comment on the issue as the university and the IATF were already investigating the matter.

"I am fully cooperating with the ongoing investigations and praying that in due time, this will be properly addressed," he said.

The issue was thrust into the spotlight when UST star CJ Cansino revealed last week that he had already parted ways with the Tigers.

In the same statement, Ayo said he found it best to part ways with the former team captain due to “marked differences” and “varying approaches and adaptation to the crisis”.

"The circumstances of life today have brought out the marked differences between my orientation in life and the fundamental option of our player CJ Cansino," he said.

"We found that it would be best that we part ways and allow maximum growth for each other. We wish him the Best of Providence in his new endeavor with a different team. We express our gratitude for the years and effort he poured so generously for UST," he added.

The 20-year-old cager said he was dropped from the team for reasons beyond his control, but did not elaborate further. The 6-foot-2 swingman also added that if it were up to him, he wouldn’t leave the institution he considers his “dream school”.

Less than 24 hours since news broke out, the sought-after 20-year-old player immediately found a new home with the University of the Philippines after a meeting with the team’s officials.

RELATED: CJ Cansino joins UP Fighting Maroons after sudden UST exit

As of late July, the government has permitted the resumption of training sessions for only the professional sports teams, with limited capacity set to be imposed on the training areas.

CNN Philippines’ Correspondent Pauline Verzosa contributed to this report.