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Why Ayo chose the Tigers

Get to know more about the Growling Tigers’ new coach.



Photo by Darryl Lance Limpin/TomasinoWeb

After leading the De La Salle University Green Archers to two consecutive UAAP Finals appearances and a championship last season, Coach Aldin Ayo is now set to replace Boy Sablan as the new head coach of the Growling Tigers.

In an exclusive interview with TomasinoWeb, Ayo said that choosing to coach the España-based squad is one of his personal milestones.

“For me, [I chose to coach UST] for personal growth. Gusto kong mag-grow pa as a coach, as a person, [and yung] overall na pagkatao [ko]. I believe na makukuha ko ‘yun dito sa UST,” Ayo said.

Hailing from Sorsogon City, Ayo studied at the Colegio de San Juan de Letran, UST’s sister school, where he played for the Letran Knights as point guard, winning back-to-back championships in the NCAA in 1998 and 1999.

Ayo was instrumental in securing Letran’s championship title in 1999 when he scored the go-ahead layup in Letran’s first game against the Jose Rizal College Heavy Bombers during the finals round.

He continued to play for the Knights until his graduation in 2001, earning a bachelor’s degree in Philosophy.

Ayo would first venture into coaching in 2008, mentoring the basketball team of Aemilianum College from his hometown—leading the once-underdog team to a championship title in Sorsogon—and the varsity team of his high school alma mater, the Our Lady of Peñafrancia Seminary.

After his coaching stint with Aemilianum, he established the Ayo Basketball Clinic – Information, Demonstration, Explanation, and Application of Skills—or ABC IDEAS—where he taught basketball to children for free. Ayo continued to run the clinic even while serving as the city councilor of Sorsogon City in 2010.

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Ayo would work again with the Knights in 2014. He would lead the team to a championship title against the San Beda College Red Lions and win the NCAA’s Coach of the Year Award the following year.

During his coaching stint with Letran, Ayo said he formed personal bonds with Thomasian managers and Dominican priests, which led him to eventually choose to move to UST and lead the Tigers as head coach after his contract with the Green Archers ended last year.

“I’m close with the people who were involved in running the team. They’re my personal friends,” he said, specifically mentioning the University’s current Athletics Director Jannel Abogado, O.P.

“Father Jannel is from Sorsogon, and lots of priests are Bicolanos. Almost the same naman, Letran tapos UST. Actually, ‘yung mga pari na nandun sa Letran before, noong nandoon ako, nandito [na din] sila ngayon,” Ayo added.

by Lanz Nathan Hernandez



Tiger Cubs settle for third, falter vs NU



File photo. (Photo by Ralph Rainell Estrella/TomasinoWeb)

The University of Santo Tomas Tiger Cubs took home the bronze medal after running out of fuel against the Nazareth School of National University Bullpups, 72-91, in the stepladder semifinals round of UAAP Season 80 junior’s basketball tournament at the Filoil Flying V Arena Tuesday.

Jules Anunciacion and Rayjhun Baquial buried back-to-back baskets in the final period for UST to cut the lead by 11, 58-69, but NU sparked a 19-8 run giving them their biggest lead by 22 points, 88-66.

UST were able to score six points in the crucial period, but NU scored three more points to finally close out the game, 72-91.

“Sobrang pagod na rin ng mga bata, kasi halos wala na rin kaming pahinga after noong FEU game namin noong eliminations,” Tiger Cubs head coach Chris Cantonjos explained. “Kung nabigyan lang din sana kami ng at least one-day off, I think na-sustain namin (yung NU).”

Despite the team’s failure to force the series into a do-or-die duel, Cantonjos praised his players for exceeding his expectation for the team.

“Thankful ako sa mga players kasi sabi ko noong una walang naniniwala na makakaakyat kami dito (sa Final 4),” he said.

Baquial and Villapando led UST with 16 points apiece while John Cansino finished with 10 points and 16 rebounds. NU’s Terrence Fortea and Miguel Ocsea tallied 17 and 16 points, respectively.

Box Scores:

UST (72) – Baquial 16, Villapando 16, Lina 10, Cansino 10, Narvasa 10, Anunciacion 6, Palencia 2, Dolendo 2, Manabat 0, Relucio 0, Estrella 0, Dela Cruz 0, Benzonan 0.

READ  UST assures of final four playoffs, yields to UE

NU (91) – Fortea 17, Oczon 16, Javillionar 13, Amsali 12, Manalang 11, Coyoca, 8, Gonzales, Pangilinan 4, Minerva 2, Malonzo 2, Vinoya 2, Dayrit 0, Felisilda 0.

Quarter scores: 17-21, 31-45, 51-67, 72-91.


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UST foils Baby Tams in crunch time



Photo by Ralph Rainell Estrella/TomasinoWeb

The University of Santo Tomas Tiger Cubs prevailed over the Far Eastern University Baby Tamaraws with a huge comeback in the payoff period, 81-80, in the UAAP Season 80 semifinals round of the junior’s basketball tournament at the Blue Eagles Gym Saturday.

RJ Abarrientos led FEU’s offense in the deciding period, burying four out of their five trips to the rainbow area to extend the lead by 13, 79-66.

UST then countered with their own four treys which resulted in a 14-0 surge, including a clutch pull-up jumper by RJ Baquial with 1:12 remaining in the clock, 80-79.

FEU’s LJ Gonzales had a chance to reclaim the lead but only managed to tie the game, 80-all, sinking one of his two free throws.

Kobe Palencia would seal the deal for the Tiger Cubs by hitting one of two in the charity stripe, 81-80.

UST head coach Chris Cantonjos gave credit to his players for their mental toughness and willingness to win the game.

“Nakuha na namin lahat at naexperience noong eliminations at kumbaga nainput na nila yung gusto nating mangyari,” he said. “Ang ginagawa na nila kanina kusa na talaga na gustong-gusto talaga nilang manalo.”

UST had a nine-point advantage at the start of second canto, 24-15, but FEU paraded a 12-0 run to grab the lead, 24-27.

Jezreel Villapando shot back-to-back treys to regain the lead, 30-27, but FEU’s 14-3 blitz overshadowed his momentum, 41-33.

Liam Manabat drained a triple at the buzzer to cut the lead to five, 41-36.

MVP frontrunner CJ Cansino paced UST with 18 points and 16 rebounds, while Baquial contributed 13 markers.

READ  UST Golden Tigresses naisahan ang Arellano Lady Chiefs

FEU’s Abarrientos tallied game-high 24 points while Xyrus Torres had 11 markers.

UST will try to keep their momentum going against the twice-to-beat NU Bullpups on February 23, Friday, at the Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan.


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NU Bullpups shatter Tiger Cubs

The Tiger Cubs dropped to a 5-5 win-loss record.



Photo by Ralph Estrella/TomasinoWeb.

The University of Santo Tomas Tiger Cubs absorbed a 34-point blowout loss against the Nazareth School Bullpups, 75-109, in the UAAP Season 80 juniors’ basketball tournament at the Filoil Flying V Arena Saturday.

The Cubs just suffered a three-game losing streak in the second round of the eliminations, dropping to a 5-5 win-loss record.

In the payoff period, UST’s Vince Dolendo was slapped with two unsportsmanlike fouls after engaging in a scuffle with NU’s Rhayyan Amzali and Paolo Javillionar which forced Dolendo to vacate the playing court with three minutes remaining.

Despite some questionable calls that were called against the Tiger Cubs, head coach Chris Cantojos pointed out the team’s defensive flaws in the game.

“We have to move on regarding doon sa mga calls. Ang problem [talaga] is we have to play defense at ayan ang nawala sa amin, kaya lumayo ng lumayo yung score,” he explained.

NU also had the edge in the rebounding department grabbing 50 boards compared to UST’s 29.

After leading by a point at the end of the opening salvo, 26-25,  NU’s Matthew Manalang sparked a 13-0 run against the Tiger Cubs, 44-31.

Manalang led NU with game-high 25 points while Amsali tallied 13 markers. MVP front-runner CJ Cansino was limited to 13 points and six boards while Kobe Palencia also had 13.

The Tiger Cubs will try to bounce back against the University of the East Junior Warriors in hopes of keeping their Final Four campaign alive on Jan. 27, Saturday, at the same venue.

“Hindi na sa amin pwede na matalo so kailangan namin na umangat kasi kung hindi mawawala kami diyan sa Final Four,” he ended.

READ  UST assures of final four playoffs, yields to UE

Box Scores:

UST (75) – Cansino 13, Palencia 13, Dolendo 10, Lina 7, Baquial 6, Narvasa 6, Manabat 6, Benzonan 5, Anunciacion 5, Esplana 2, Estrella 2, Dela Cruz 0, Villapando 0, Biag 0, Co 0.

NU (109) – Manalang 25, Amsali 13, Fortea 12, Coyoca 12, Oczon 10, Malonzo 10, Javillionar 9, Gonzales 6, Minerva 6, Pradella 4, Pangilinan 2, Felisida 0, Dayrit 0, Vinoya 0.

Quarter scores: 26-25, 41-50, 61-80, 75-109


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