UNIVERSITY of Santo Tomas coach Aldin Ayo neither confirmed nor denied the allegations regarding the training sessions of the school's men's basketball team in Sorsogon during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As UST is presently investigating the matter, Ayo would rather keep silent and vowed to cooperate with the school’s fact-finding committee.
Training for non-professional teams under any of the four variations of quarantine in the country has been strictly prohibited by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) as recommended by the Games and Amusement Board, Department of Health, and Philippine Sports Commission.
The only available exemptions by the IATF in its Joint Administrative Order issued last month are professional basketball and football, which are allowed to resume training - but only in small groups - under approved health protocols.
“Regarding the alleged ‘bubble training’ in Sorsogon, I will not comment for now as UST is already investigating the matter as well as the IATF,” said Ayo in a statement released late Sunday.
“I am fully cooperating with the on-going investigations and praying that in due time, this will be properly addressed,” he added.
The UAAP will meet again with GAB, PSC and DOH tomorrow, with UST expected to release the findings of its internal probe.
Since late last week, unmarked training camp videos and photos from Ayo's hometown have been circulating on social media.
On Sunday, a copy of the alleged waiver parents had to sign to clear the team of any damages if something wrong happens in the said Sorsogon sessions was surfaced online.
The alleged “bubble” led to the controversial dismissal of skipper CJ Cansino, who wanted to go home from the training camp but was thumbed down by Ayo, by the team. The 20-year old incoming third year standout has committed to play for University of the Philippines on Friday.
Ayo also wished Cansino, a former UAAP juniors basketball MVP, the best of luck in his new journey.
“The circumstances of life today have brought out the marked difference between my orientation in life and the fundamental option of our player CJ Cansino,” Ayo said.
“We have found that it would be best that we part ways and allow maximum growth for each other. We wish him the best of providence in his new endeavor with a different team. We express our gratitude for the years and effort he poured so generously for UST,” he added.
Ayo closed his statement in saying that he, just like everyone else, hopes that the “normal” comes sooner rather than later.
“We fervently hope that our government, with our cooperation and active participation, find ways to effectively address the debilitating pandemic in our country so that we may be able to resume certain normalcy where we could return to the game we passionately love and give our utmost drawing the best out of each one in pursuit of total human development,” said Ayo.