ALDIN Ayo returning to Letran? No way!
After he resigned at the helm of University of Santo Tomas last Friday, Ayo reportedly intends to return to the Knights but was promptly rejected by school officials.
“Not under my umbrella. No way!” commented Letran special assistant to the rector for sports development Alfrancis Chua on a Facebook post by Knights coach Bonnie Tan.
“Baka sa ibang Letran papunta coach nila. Iisa lang Letran ang alam ko at ang coach doon (ay) si Bonnie Tan,” added Chua, also the sports director of San Miguel Corporation.
“If ain’t broke, why fix (it)?” Letran athletic director and NCAA 96th season Management Committee chairman Fr. Vic Calvo, OP.
Ayo is under probe by the Sports Joint Administrative Order group composed of the Games and Amusements Board, Department of Health, Philippine Sports Commission, and Commission on Higher Education after he brought UST to his hometown in Capuy, Sorsogon City where they held a training bubble, a breach of the government’s stringent COVID-19 health protocols.
UST accepted the resignation of Ayo and assistant coaches McJour Luib and Jiniño Manansala last Saturday.
Ayo, 42, guided Letran to the title against then six-peat-seeking San Beda University in 2015 but he left and moved to La Salle for a reported P9 million, three-year pact.
In his first year calling the shots for UST after leaving the Green Archers which he led to a crown in 2016, Ayo guided the Tigers to a 5-9 record for sixth.
The Growling Tigers are seemingly not looking that far for a replacement for Ayo.
Bethune “Siot” Tanquingcen, Chris Cantonjos, and Estong Ballesteros have reportedly emerged as possible replacements, all three of them members of the legendary UST squads that won a four-peat in the 1990s under the great late Aric Del Rosario.
Tanquingcen, 47, had a short-lived pro league career with Sunkist and San Miguel Beer but won two titles with Ginebra and one with the Beermen as coach. He last served as coach in the PBA for Barako Bull.
Tanquingcen, who was also interviewed for the National University coaching job, was an assistant at La Salle when the Green Archers won the crown in 2016 under Ayo and was one of TY Tang’s deputies at College of St. Benidle.
CSB laid off the coaches and staff of its varsity teams last Aug. 31 as part of belt-tightening measures due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cantonjos bagged the UAAP MVP award in 1995 and was a member of three title teams. He called the shots for the Tiger Cubs until 2017 when the CJ Cansino-led UST juniors’ squad advanced to the stepladder semifinals but lost to Nazareth School of National University for the last finals berth.