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    Suspension, leave of absence, job ouster in play as UST wraps up bubble probe

    Aug 28, 2020

    THE ball is now on University of Santo Tomas' court as the school faces mounting pressure from all fronts to make the appropriate action after a Bicol bubble training by its men's basketball team that defied health protocols came out in the open.

    Rumors have been floating around the past few days on penalties the school can and will impose on those proven responsible for the Sorsogon training, which was held at a time when sports events and training were barred because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Those repercussions, however, aren't expected to be made public just yet as the findings from the school's internal investigation have only been given to UST Rector Fr. Richard Ang, OP and new Institute of Physical Education and Athletics (IPEA) director Fr. Ermito de Sagon, OP, who will report to the UAAP on Friday.

    UST and UAAP officials, in turn, will present the findings on Tuesday to a panel created by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for Emerging Infectious Diseases, composed of officials from the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), Commission on Higher Education (CHED), Department of Health (DOH), and the Games and Amusements Board (GAB).


    But with mounting evidence, it has become clear that the controversy won't die down without the people responsible for the illegal training, primarily UST coach Aldin Ayo, as well as the school itself accepting sanctions.

    Over the past few days, rumors have emerged of a suspension being handed down on Ayo as the man mainly responsible for the bubble - a tough blow for the decorated mentor who has turned the fortunes of the Growling Tigers since his arrival in 2018.

    There are also questions on whether the España-based school would keep Ayo, more so since Fr. Jannel Abogado, OP — the school's IPEA director who was responsible for bringing in the coach from La Salle in 2018 - has already stepped down.

    The possibility of the Growling Tigers skipping the men's basketball competitions in the coming UAAP Season 83, or worse, the whole school taking a leave of absence next UAAP season, is not far-fetched, if only to spare the school of the embarrassment of being punished by the CHED and the UAAP, based on the recommendations of the IATF panel.


      Such move will be unfair for UST athletes in other sports who did not commit any violation. But such scenario will no longer be new to the league.

      Back in 2006, La Salle was forced to miss the UAAP season after two ineligible players were fielded by the Green Archers from 2003 to 2005. They forfeited all their games during that time period and nullified their basketball championship crown in 2004.

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      Effects from those infractions cost the whole La Salle athletics program a chance to compete in UAAP Season 69.

      In the event of that scenario happening again, it will see a painful end to UST's dominance across all sports. The Tigers have won the general championship in the seniors division for the past four seasons, while the Tiger Cubs have reigned in the juniors division for the last six seasons.

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