Promising UST core now gone
The once-promising core of University of Santo Tomas (UST) is now truly gone, and the rest of the Growling Tigers are now left to pick up the pieces to just become a respectable contender when the UAAP plays its next season.
Rookie of the year Mark Nonoy and Deo Cuajao have joined La Salle, the latest transfers to hit UST in the aftermath of resigned coach Aldin Ayo’s controversial Sorsogon training “bubble” that has left this program in tatters and would require the next man up at the helm to rebuild basically from the ground up.
Beninese center Soulemane Chabi Yo, the Season 82 most valuable player, will be left to carry the torch for the Tigers, who last won a title in 2006 and were coming off their worst seasons before Ayo took over two years ago.
Dave Ando, Migs Pangilinan and Sherwin Conception, all part of last year’s squad, are staying.
Skipper CJ Cansino was the first to leave, transferring to UAAP rival University of the Philippines before Rhenz Abando, Brent Paraiso and Ira Bataller took their acts to Letran in the NCAA. The Knights, incidentally, have become solid favorites to repeat there.
This all happened because of the bubble, as Ayo, a champion with Letran in the NCAA and with the Green Archers, was later suspended indefinitely by the UAAP’s board of trustees from holding any position in the league. Ayo and his camp are appealing that decision.
Santo Tomas finished a fighting second to Ateneo last year, a gallant effort for a team that was just in the second season of the Ayo era. And many believed that the Tigers were due to return to the promised land soon with that core made up of Cansino and company.
Now, those pieces are scattered everywhere.
La Salle, meanwhile, shored up its backcourt with the arrival of Nonoy, who will have the chance to be handled by a great collegiate talent in his time in Derrick Pumaren, who returned for another tour of duty with the Green Archers. Adamson was also reportedly an option for Nonoy and Cuajao.
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