UAAP acknowledges receipt of UST endorsement of Ayo appeal

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The board of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines on Tuesday acknowledged its receipt of a letter from the University of Santo Tomas endorsing the appeal of its former men’s basketball coach Aldin Ayo to have the indefinite ban slapped on him rescinded.

In a statement, the UAAP said it has received the endorsement letter from UST which it hopes to tackle “in due time.”

Mr. Ayo was meted an indefinite ban from participating in all league events and UAAP-sanctioned activities by the Board of Trustees which ratified the recommendation of the UAAP Board of Managing Directors last month over his involvement in the alleged training “bubble” of the Growling Tigers at the coach’s hometown of Capuy, Sorsogon, beginning June.   

The supposed training bubble took place at a time when any sporting activity was still prohibited under government health and safety protocols set to guard against the spread of the coronavirus.

The UAAP handed down the sanction on Mr. Ayo based on UST’s own probe of the incident that had the coach culpable of violations, ruling that “Ayo [endangered] the health and well-being of the student athletes under his charge when he conducted the training during a government-declared state of public emergency.”

Cited, too, as reason for the decision were the governing principles of the association.

Mr. Ayo moved to appeal the ban after, saying it was “not appropriate under the circumstances,” something UST agrees to, viewing it as “too harsh.” 

His push for reconsideration gained wind recently when Sorsogon police, after conducting investigation, which was certified by Sorsogon Governor Francis Escudero, concluded that the UST team did not violate protocols as what it had involved only “farming activities,” which are allowed under existing conditions.

The police also said that the Growling Tigers were able to meet the needed requirements prior to going to Sorsogon.

These included declaring that they are not persons under monitoring (PUMs), did not exhibit any COVID-19 symptoms for 14 days and were tested accordingly prior to the trip, and secured all the necessary travel passes from the Joint Task Force COVID Shield.

The team also observed the mandatory 14-day mandatory home quarantine before they proceeded to its “personal development farm training.”

Mr. Ayo resigned from his post on Sept. 4 amid the investigation conducted on the alleged bubble while the majority of the players who were part of UST’s finals run last year have since left the team and gone elsewhere. – Michael Angelo S. Murillo