Manansala new UST coach

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    FORMER University of Santo Tomas Tiger Cubs coach and Growling Tigers assistant Jiniño Manansala is reportedly set to take over from Aldin Ayo at the helm of UST.

    The son of former University of the East star and PBA Rookie of the Year awardee Jimmy, Manansala was named UST juniors’ tactician just last July, but he resigned as one of Ayo’s deputies along with McJour Luib amid the Sorsogon bubble controversy.

    Luib is also reportedly set to be named new Tiger Cubs coach.

    Manansala played for UST under the late great Aric Del Rosario from 1999-2003 before opting to try his hand at coaching. He guided St. Clare College of Caloocan to a ‘four-peat’ in the NAASCU.

    Meanwhile, University of Santo Tomas is reportedly endorsing the appeal of former coach Aldin Ayo to the UAAP Board of Trustees to reconsider his indefinite suspension.

    The Varsitarian, the school’s official student publication, reported last Wednesday night that a high-ranking official who requested anonymity has backed Ayo’s appeal after the Sorsogon City PNP and the provincial government last Oct. 2 cleared Ayo of any liability in the alleged training bubble in his hometown in Capuy from mid-June to August.

    “UST has endorsed the letter of appeal of coach Aldin Ayo subject to the qualification that it stands by the report of its fact-finding committee,” the school official was quoted as saying.

    “We strongly believe that the penalty imposed by the UAAP Board is too harsh.”

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

    Ayo, who will turn 43 on Oct. 15, resigned at the helm of the Growling Tigers last Sept. 4 and was suspended from all league events and activities last Sept. 9.

    The Sorsogon City PNP and Gov. Francis “Chiz” Escudero ruled out Ayo, a former three-term councilor of the city, from making any violation, saying UST secured all the necessary documents before going to Capuy, declaring that they are not persons under monitoring (PUMs), did not have any COVID-19 symptoms for 14 days, were tested seven days prior to the trip, and secured all the necessary travel pass from the Joint Task Force COVID Shield.

    A 14-day mandatory home quarantine was also put in place before the team went on a “personal development farm training,” that was certified by the Capuy barangay captain, the PNP memorandum added.

    In his sworn statement, Ayo said his players engaged mainly in farm work in exchange for allowance, free meals, and free lodging.

    The players “were allowed to make use of a basketball court which is enclosed inside the living room of (Ayo’s) house where the players had individual training and not team practice,” the report said.

    Ayo is likely not yet off the hook.

    The Commission on Higher Education has issued a show cause order to UST for violating its advisories that “prohibited mass gatherings such as ceremonies and school activities, until the IATF prohibition is lifted,” last Sept. 7.

    The Department of Justice and Department of Interior Local Government are also probing the incident.

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