UAAP not tackling Ayo appeal, for now

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    NO fitting birthday gift tomorrow for former University of Santo Tomas coach Aldin Ayo.

    The UAAP broke its silence yesterday and said it has formally received a letter from UST endorsing the appeal of Ayo to the UAAP Board of Trustees to reconsider his indefinite suspension.

    Ayo’s plea, however, will not be discussed, for now.

    “The University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) has received a letter from University of Santo Tomas endorsing the appeal of basketball coach Aldin Ayo,” the UAAP said in an official statement. “The association will tackle the appeal in due time.”

    In a surprising twist, 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.

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

    “Ayo was handed an indefinite ban from participating in all UAAP events and UAAP-sanctioned activities by the UAAP Board of Trustees which ratified the recommendation of the UAAP Board of Managing Directors last month,” the league said.

    “This was based on the report that UST submitted regarding its investigation on the alleged training bubble in Sorsogon as well as the governing principles of the association.”

    Ayo, who will turn 43 tomorrow, stepped down 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 absolved Ayo, a former three-term councilor of the city, from having made 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 charges 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 investigating the bubble.

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