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Why Ayo chose the Tigers

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

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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

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Juniors’ MVP CJ Cansino joins Growling Tigers

CJ Cansino already began his training with the Tigers under newly-appointed head coach Aldin Ayo.

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Photo from UST head coach Aldin Ayo’s Twitter account

The Growling Tigers will now expect the services of reigning Juniors’ MVP CJ Cansino in UAAP Season 81, as Cansino himself expressed his commitment to stay with UST.

“UST ang nagbigay ng chance na maabot ko ‘yung pangarap ko. Hndi ko maaabot lahat ‘to kung wala ang UST,” Cansino told TomasinoWeb. “Gusto ko rin makatulong na iangat yung basketball program.”

Cansino already began his training with the Tigers under newly-appointed head coach Aldin Ayo, and has started to adapt to the system.

“Nag-training na po ako and tinutulungan naman ako ni coach [Ayo] na makasabay agad sa practice,” he said.

Ayo was first to welcome Cansino by posting a picture together with his coaching staff on Twitter.

Cansino is a homegrown talent from the Tiger Cubs who recently led his team in Final Four at the third spot.

He also bagged the Most Valuable Player (MVP) award, making him the first Thomasian to win the MVP plum since Kevin Ferrer in 2010.

Although Cansino is expected to share his minutes alongside veterans Regie Boy Basibas, Jordan Sta. Ana, and returning Mario Bonleon, he is more than willing to accept his role as an incoming rookie for the España-based squad.

“Ibibigay ko ‘yung best ko kung anuman ‘yung role na ibigay sa akin ni coach, and gagawin ko lahat hindi lang pang-sarili kundi para sa UST rin para manalo,” he stated.

UST is currently on a rebuilding process after an abysmal campaign in both Seasons 79 and 80, only winning four out of their 28 outings.

READ  Growling Tigresses bank on early preparation in UAAP

Cansino is all set to help the Tigers bounce back from a forgettable season.

“Gagawin ko lahat ng makakaya ko para lang maipanalo at maiangat na rin ang UST,” he ended.

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Tiger Cubs settle for third, falter vs NU

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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.

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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

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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.

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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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