Embattled UST head coach Aldin Ayo resigns amid Bicol ‘bubble’ controversy

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Photo courtesy: UAAP/Facebook

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 4) – University of Santo Tomas (UST) head coach Aldin Ayo announced his resignation on Friday amid the ongoing investigation into the Bicol “bubble” controversy that allegedly violated government quarantine protocols.

In his official statement, the UAAP and NCAA champion coach also apologized to those who have been affected by their activity.

“I deeply apologize to all those who have been adversely affected by our activity and unnecessarily exposed to much condemnation especially the University. I take responsibility for my actions and shall face the appropriate sanctions,” said Ayo.

Ayo also thanked the UST community for their continued support to the embattled men’s basketball team.

“I ask for prayers that they, as well as I, may be able to recover from these very trying times,” he added.

A panel composed of some government agencies and the UAAP Board is at the height of its investigation on the alleged “bubble” in Sorsogon, where Ayo brought his players in his home province in June to train.

The said locked-up training led to the controversial transfer of former team captain CJ Cansino to the University of the Philippines, who stressed he was axed in the team and left the “bubble” due to his alleged deteriorating mental health. He also divulged, in a now deleted tweet, screenshots of a Facebook group chat with former UST teammates who recounted to their parents the inadequate food and poor health issues inside the “bubble.”

Other Growling Tigers left the España-based university amid the investigation, such as Brent Paraiso and Ira Bataller who are reportedly nearing their transfer to UST sister school Colegio de San Juan de Letran. The Letran Knights are the defending NCAA men’s basketball champions.

Rising star Rhenz Abando also left the Tigers’ den and are now heavily courted by other UAAP and NCAA schools.

The UAAP Board of Trustees, composed of the presidents of the eight member schools, met with the UAAP Board of Managing Directors on Thursday and vowed to study the latter’s recommendations on the collegiate league’s response to the issue.

According to sources, one of the UAAP Board of Managing Directors’ recommendations is to sanction Ayo for his role in the Sorsogon “bubble.”

Ayo first made a mark in the Philippine collegiate basketball scene by winning a championship in his maiden year as head coach with Letran in 2015, where they aborted rival San Beda’s six-peat title chase in the NCAA Season 91 finals. The following year, he moved to De La Salle University and guided them to a title by defeating rival Ateneo de Manila University in the finals. He transferred to UST in 2018, where he led the Growling Tigers to a runner-up finish in Season 82 last year.