There is no longer any question whether or not Aldin Ayo will be at the helm of the rebuild for the University of Sto. Tomas Growling Tigers.
A question remains, however, if he will also have a hand in the return to relevance of the Tiger Cubs.
According to Reuben Terrado of Spin.ph, one of Ayo’s lieutenants will be coaching UST’s high school team next season. This, “regardless the result” of the campaign currently being overseen by Chris Cantonjos.
This means that, indeed, the new mentor will be given complete control of the UST basketball program.
According to Cantonjos, nobody has approached him on how things will shake out now that Ayo, a two-time collegiate champion coach, will reportedly be in Espana for, at the very least, the next six years. “’Di pa naman kami kinakausap ng management,” he said.
He acknowledged, however, reports surfacing that the Tiger Cubs will also be ultimately under Ayo. “May mga lumalabas na nga na kukunin din nila,” he said.
For Cantonjos and his staff, it should be up to Ayo to clarify matters – especially after the latter was seen scouting UST high school star CJ Cansino last Saturday. “Wala pa raw sinasabi yung (camp) nila, pero kung wala pa silang sinasabi, dapat i-clear na nila,” he said.
Apparently, the second-year Tiger Cubs coach did not appreciate the fact that the first-year Growling Tigers coach did not say anything about scouting Cansino. “Nakalimutan ata nila na UST ako at ngayon, inaangat namin yung Juniors team namin. Napaka-unfair naman ata sa amin na bigla-bigla na lang silang nandito,” he said.
Cantonjos then went on to list down all of his accomplishments wearing the gold and black – and why all of those make him more than worthy to be calling the shots for UST High. “UST kami kahit anong mangyari. Kumbaga siya, sabihin natin, sampid lang e,” he said.
He then continued, “Apat yung binigay kong championship tsaka may MVP ako (sa UST). Magpasintabi muna siya kasi sinasagasaan niya is UST. Respeto naman. Wag naman ganun.”
Going further to prove his point, Cantonjos compared himself, and all he has done for his alma mater, with Ayo and his achievements as a player. As he put it, “As a player naman siguro, wala siguro siya sa stats ko, ang layo. Bilangan na lang tayo ng championship. Bangko naman ata siya sa Letran.”
Cantonjos was a key cog in UST’s four-peat in the ‘90s. He also won the UAAP MVP in 1995.
On the other hand, Ayo was part of Colegio de San Juan de Letran’s back-to-back in 1998 and 1999. He hit the game-winner in Game 1 of the 1999 Finals.
Still, Cantonjos said that he is just waiting for Ayo to get in contact with them to discuss things. “Wala namang problema sa amin. Hinihintay lang din naman namin sila,” he said.
They would appreciate it, however, if distractions like this do not come up for the next two months or so with the Tiger Cubs right in the middle of a playoff push. “Wag lang sana ngayon kasi ongoing pa kami e. Sana kung kulelat kami e, pero respetuhan lang muna sana,” he expressed.
At present, the Tiger Cubs stand at the third spot, holding a 5-4 record.
ABS-CBN Sports has been trying to get a comment from Ayo, but he is yet to respond.
According to a source, he has been barred from media interviews by UST’s Institute of Physical Education and Athletics.
This story was originally published on the ABS-CBN Sports website.