ASIDE from playing basketball, what did University of Santo Tomas players do in the bubble training at the hometown of former coach Aldin Ayo in Capuy, Sorsogon City in mid-June?
According to a report last Monday night by The Varsitarian, the school’s official student publication, aside from playing 3-on-3 basketball, some of the Growling Tigers also attended a seminar on farming and visited a piggery.
Daily practices were held in two sessions from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. The players rested on Tuesdays and Sundays.
The Varsitarian said former UST Institute of Physical Education and Athletics (IPEA) director Fr. Jannel Abogado, OP initially turned down Ayo’s request to train in the province 529 kilometers off Manila, but changed his mind when Ayo insisted.
After his plan was rejected, Ayo returned a week later and told UST officials his charges wanted to train “since they had nothing to do in their hometowns.”
It was not clear in the UST fact-finding committee’s report submitted to the Commission on Higher Education if it was Fr. Abogado who eventually gave the go-signal for the ill-fated Sorsogon bubble.
Ayo, together with assistant coaches McJour Luib and Jiniño Manansala, resigned last Friday. UST accepted their resignations last Saturday, while Fr. Abogado resigned last Aug. 25 and was replaced by Fr. Ermito de Sagon.
UST’s bubble was popped after former skipper CJ Cansino said he was booted out of the team due to “defiance of authority” last Aug. 21.
Cansino, who has moved to University of the Philippines, asked Ayo if he and his teammates could return to Manila but that led to a rift and his stunning departure from the squad.
It was reported that part of the P3 million budget allocated for the Sorsogon bubble was allegedly used to upgrade the ABC (Ayo Basketball Camp) Ideas Gym, reportedly owned by Ayo.
Photos and videos that were deleted showed UST players playing allegedly at the ABC Gym.
The 6-foot-2 Cansino bared the Tigers suffered in Sorsogon, while big man Ira Bataller claimed he suffered from abdominal pain during the Sorsogon bubble, but the coaches ignored his condition.
Apart from Cansino, star forward Rhenz Abando, guard Brent Paraiso, and Bataller have transferred to defending NCAA champion Letran.