Ayo insists he never broke protocol

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    NOT a lawbreaker?

    Despite incriminating pieces of evidence, former University of Santo Tomas coach Aldin Ayo insisted he did not break the government’s stringent health protocols when he brought the Growling Tigers to Sorsogon City for team practice amid the deadly COVID-19 pandemic.

    Speaking on Radyo5 92.3 News FM’s Power and Play program hosted by former PBA Commissioner Noli Eala last Saturday, Ayo maintained his innocence in the alleged bubble training from mid-June to August and hopes his appeal over his indefinite suspension in the UAAP would be reconsidered.

    “Lahat naman sinunod namin. Hindi naman ganoon kabilis kumuha ng papel. Pero lahat kami nag-comply. Aware ako sa protocols ng national government, so we made sure lahat nagawa namin ng tama,” Ayo said.

    “I’m confident because wala akong nilabag na any violation. Kita nila iyon sa appeal ko and grateful ako sa endorsement ng UST sa appeal ko,” he added.

    Ayo, who was tapped to call the shots for the Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3 team last Nov. 9, insisted that he and his wards went to his hometown in Capuy to farm, adding his intention was to help them cope with the economic crunch inflicted by the coronavirus outbreak.

    “We did not go there as a team. I have 28 to 30 players sa UST and 17 lang iyong pumunta and voluntary lang iyon. The objective was farming because during that time, I was thinking kung ano ang maitutulong sa mga bata,” Ayo said.

    “It was that time na walang nag-iisip na magkakaroon ng school year and hindi namin alam kung anong mangyayari. And I was just too concerned sa mga players, lalo na sa mga hirap kung paano ko sila matulungan, at naisip ko na kung gusto niyo na magtrabaho kayo dito, why not? Iyong mga may kaya, matututo kayo para once matapos iyong basketball careers niyo, they can have their own business. I told them that, kasi hindi naman habang buhay ang basketball, so kapag natapos na ito, you have to invest.”

    Ayo, 43, resigned last Sept. 4, five days before the UAAP Board lowered the boom on him.

    The suspension handed by the Board of Trustees, composed of university presidents, was based on the findings of the UST fact-finding committee’s probe.

    The UAAP said in a statement last Oct. 13 that it has formally received a letter from UST endorsing the appeal of Ayo to the UAAP Board of Trustees to reconsider his ban, but the league has yet to act on his plea.

    Surprisingly, Ayo was cleared from any liability in the controversial bubble training by the Sorsogon City PNP and provincial government last Oct. 2.

    Ayo said his family suffered from the issue, but he is moving on.

    The ill-fated UST bubble got pricked after former skipper CJ Cansino said he was booted out of the team due to “defiance of authority” last Aug. 21.