UNIVERSITY of Santo Tomas coach Aldin Ayo said he is currently not 'actively pursuing' Ricci Rivero but declined to completely rule out recruiting his former star player at La Salle.
Rumors make UST as one of the possible destinations for Rivero, who took a leave from the Green Archers due to a 'conflict' over a new team rule that disallows players from entering into endorsement deals.
Also affected by the same rule were his older brother Prince and pal Brent Paraiso, who also took a leave of absence from the team although the three are still enrolled in the school, according to La Salle.
The Green Archers didn’t issue a timetable on the trio's team.
When asked about the rumors of the trio's move to UST, Ayo said, “Hindi naman namin napag-usapan ‘yan. Hindi ko kinukuha. Hindi ko rin sinasabi na hindi ko rin kukunin.”
If he is asked, Ayo said he prefers the Riveros and Paraiso to stay put at La Salle as they have been with the school dating back to their high school days.
“Doon sila nag-high school eh. Sabi ko kung ano man ang desisyon nila, siguraduhin nila na sa ikakaigi ng mga bata. Basta they have to prioritize their academics,” said Ayo.
After two seasons with La Salle that saw him win one UAAP title in Season 79, Ayo decided to move to UST to take over the basketball program of the school, bringing hope to the struggling Growling Tigers.
But Ayo said he never thought about bringing his former La Salle players to the Tigers' lair.
“Actually, never nag-cross sa isip ko na kukunin ko siya. Hindi ko naman sinabi na pumunta sila dito. Ang una kong advice sa kanila, 'Wag kayo aalis dahil you have to stay sa La Salle dahil sa academics.' Maganda para sa kanila at sa La Salle,” Ayo said.