No welcome sign for Aldin Ayo in NCAA — sources

Published September 12, 2020, 12:00 PM

by Waylon Galvez

Aldin Ayo
League sources tell Manila Bulletin that NCAA officials have shut down the possibility of recruiting embattled coach Aldin Ayo. (UAAP)

It looks like no window of opportunity from the NCAA will be opening for embattled collegiate coach Aldin Ayo after the UAAP had slammed the door shut on him several days ago.

Neither will there be any ‘Welcome’ sign hung anytime soon, if reports are accurate.

The country’s premier collegiate league, an NCAA insider said, has struck an informal agreement encompassing all 12 member schools that in essence said no team will ever make Ayo, who has resigned as University of Santo Tomas head coach a few days ago, an offer he couldn’t refuse.

League sources told the Manila Bulletin that NCAA officials have raised the matter during recent meetings and had come to a unanimous decision not to have anything to do with Ayo, who a few days ago was hit with an “indefinite suspension” by the UAAP for organizing an unsanctioned ‘bubble training’ in Sorsogon City since June.

READ: CHED on UST bubble: It’s clear there was really training done in Sorsogon

“In passing it was discussed and agreed that no school would get him – either acquire his services or if he applies for a coaching job,” said the source who requested anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter.

The same source later said a letter of recommendation drafted by the Management Committee (MANCOM) has already been forwarded to the Policy Board for approval.

Another person in the know clarified that the NCAA “decision” is not meant to complement in any way the UAAP’s verdict but is an entirely independent judgment call. 

“It’s not because the UAAP decided to suspend him indefinitely. Actually even before they decided, we’ve already discussed that – as an association – that we’ll not get him as coach,” said the source.

‘Group chat messages,’ said to have come from Ayo and sent to his UST players, were made available to the NCAA top brass and apparently influenced the consensus call.

A former Letran player, Ayo quickly rose to become one of the top college coaches in the country after he steered the Knights to the NCAA title against powerhouse San Beda in 2015, on his first year. 

He then crossed boundaries and moved over to De La Salle the following season and there guided the Green Archers to the UAAP championship against arch-rival Ateneo.

Soon after, Ayo packed his bags once more.

His mission apparently over at DLSU, Ayo switched colors two years later — this time from green to glowing gold,  accepting the head coaching job at UST, which he willed past Far Eastern and University of the Philippines in the stepladder phase of the UAAP semis before falling to Ateneo in the championships.

With back-to-back titles and a finals appearance,  Aldin Ayo was on his way to another crack at a third major collegiate championship as UAAP Season 83 loomed early this year.

But then came a most malevolent virus and an ill-fated decision to throw caution to the wind.

So now, instead of a wide-open path to recently-sanctioned collegiate training, doors and windows are closing around amateur basketball’s once most sought-after mentor.

Only time will tell when he will be invited in again.