Aldin Ayo could not help but lament what happened to the once-promising University of Santo Tomas Men’s Basketball Team.
Coming off a second place finish in the UAAP Season 82 tournament, the team has been left in shambles after the still on-going Bicol bubble-gate.
“It was very unfortunate for us.
“Binuo namin yung team na yun and we sacrificed a lot, maraming nag-invest sa mga players. Pero things happened eh. Wala ka namang masisisi,” expressed Ayo during Power and Play, Saturday morning.
In the wake of the controversy, majority of the Growling Tigers left the school.
CJ Cansino went to University of the Philippines; Rhenz Abando, Brent Paraiso, and Ira Bataller moved to Letran; and the duo of Mark Nonoy and Deo Cuajao transferred to La Salle.
But it’s not just the student-athletes who left.
Even before UST’s investigation of the alleged training in Sorsogon happened, UST athletic director Fr. Jannel Abogado, OP resigned from his post last August 26.
Ayo followed suit on September 4.
The decorated tactician is calling for the UST community to not crucify the student-athletes for their decision to move out of the school.
“Ako, nakikiusap ako na we should understand the players also. They’re still my players although nasa ibang teams na sila. Pero I became their coach and sa akin, gusto kong maging success ko sila. I wish them luck.
“May mga nagsasabi na yung mga players, may mga decision na hindi maganda, but we have to understand the players, gumagawa din sila ng sacrifice. Kung tutuusin, okat na sila sa UST at yung pagalis nila, they’re going to take a risk. Puwedeng maging advantageous, pero pwedeng hindi, but we should understand them, yung mga players,” Ayo shared.
Since then, Ayo has been absolved by the Philippine National Police and Sorsogon’s local government of any wrongdoing with regards to the “bubble.”
This as the non-sanctioned school activity was not done for basketball training. The investigation concluded that it Ayo’s way of helping the Growling Tigers in the on-going pandemic by working on his farm just across his house in Sorsogon.
Despite the vindication he received, the 43-year-old tactician admitted that the past few months have been tough for him, his wife Mina, and his mother.
“It was very difficult especially sa family ko, sa mama ko, at sa wife ko. Mahirap eh. Those were very difficult times for us.”
Slowly though, Ayo is getting back on his feet.
Ayo has been named as the head coach of Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3’s select team. His confidants Jinino Manansala and McJour Luib were also named as Growling Tigers and Tiger Cubs head coach, respectively.
Looking back, Ayo shared that the entire ordeal has humbled him.
“I always tell my family na you cannot complain kasi sa mga nangyayari ngayon, I always feel blessed and I’m still grateful. Maraming naghihirap ngayon and grateful ako na nanduyan pa ang pamilya ko. I still feel blessed na at least natutulog pa sa ilalim ng bubong, may pagkain pa kami araw araw, so I cannot complain. I just take it and maraming matutunan eh,” said the product of Letran.
“Maganda rin siguro na you just have to be humble. Hindi ito yung tamang oras para magalit. Ito yung tamang oras para intindihin yung sitwasyon. Walang ibang dapat gawin kung hindi move on.”