WHERE to, Aldin Ayo?
Any squad in the NCAA can hire the former University of Santo Tomas coach but an unimpeachable source told Malaya-Business Insight yesterday that doing so is like shooting yourself in the foot.
“Any team can actually hire him. The NCAA can’t prevent that because that’s the right of any team,” the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said.
“But for him to sit on the bench and coach the team is an entirely different matter,” the source added.
Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas director of operations Butch Antonio said last Wednesday the ban on Ayo is only for the UAAP and that means he can still search for a coaching job in other leagues, if there is any taker.
The source insisted that if and when Ayo opts to return to the NCAA or a team links up with him, league officials will have to put the champion but controversial strategist under scrutiny.
For good reason.
Ayo, 42, was slapped with an indefinite suspension by the UAAP last Wednesday for breaching the government’s strict COVID-19 health protocols. He brought his players, mostly under 21, to his hometown in Capuy, Sorsogon City and held a bubble training from mid-June to August.
“Ibang usapan na iyong magco-coach na talaga siya ng team. Hindi biro iyong ginawa niya.
Pag-uusapan talaga iyan, kung mayroon mang kukuha sa kanya,” offered the source.
“He endangered the safety, health, and lives of his players. The NCAA, of course, does not want that to happen again.”
Ayo stepped down at the helm of the Growling Tigers last Friday.
UST accepted the resignation of Ayo and assistant coaches McJour Luib and Jiniño Manansala last Saturday.
He was reported to be eyeing a return to defending NCAA champion Letran but special assistant to the rector for sports development Alfrancis Chua and athletic director and 96th season Management Committee chairman Fr. Vic Calvo, OP, said coach Bonnie Tan will not be replaced.
Ayo guided Letran to an upset title triumph over then six-peat-seeking San Beda University in his maiden coaching stint in a major league in the country in 2015.
With two years remaining in his contract, Ayo left the Knights and moved to La Salle for a reported P9 million, three-year pact.
After leading the Green Archers to a title in 2016 behind now pro league rising star Jeron Teng of Alaska and former two-time MVP and Cameroonian big man Ben Mbala, Ayo went to UST in 2018 as La Salle lost to archrival Ateneo in their finals rematch in 2017.
The Tigers wound up with a 5-9 record in Ayo’s first year.
UST’s bubble was pricked when former captain CJ Cansino said he was booted out of the team due to “defiance of authority” last Aug. 21. Cansino has transferred to University of the Philippines while three more UST players have transferred to Letran.