Aldin Ayo a Dominican product

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ALDIN Ayo’s hiring as the new Growling Tigers head tactician should make UST forget about its proud tradition of engaging exclusively with alumni coaches in its UAAP varsity teams, and accept “outsiders” that embody the same Thomasian core values.

In a statement released early January that officially inducted Ayo of his new coaching job, the University emphasized his ideals that concur with the Thomasian notion of producing competitive yet disciplined student-athletes as a factor for the hiring.

With this feat, the University also broke its life- long pattern of keeping the varsity teams’ head coaches exclusive to UST graduates, a trend that is part of its snub on full commercialization of its sports program.

At present, all coaches of UST’s varsity teams are either former players or at least a graduate of the University. If one asks them, they will all utter one common phrase: I’m a proud Thomasian.

The University perpetually prides itself of its rich history and notable alumni. In this case, the sporting sphere is also not unfamiliar ground for Thomasians, with countless international athletes across all sports honing their skills and dreaming their dreams first in our beloved España campus.

When the Varsitarian broke the news of Ayo’s transfer, it was met with both positive and negative reception from the community. Some wondered why UST had to look for non-Thomasians for help, when several alumni like former coach Pido Jarencio and Bal David were among the prospects in the coaching hunt.

Purists who say only Thomasians should be made to coach the Tigers seem impervious to the fact that he’s from Letran, UST’s sister school. According to Ayo, who was once a seminarian himself, his close ties with some of the priests here in the University factored in his acceptance of the head coaching job.

The exception made by the Insititute of Physical Education and Athletics with Ayo’s hiring must be prompted by the Tigers’ horrendous Season 80 showing – winning only one game in 14 outings, arguably its worst showing in history. To make things worse than worst, it was a team that won only four games in 28 matches under Boy Sablan, a former Glowing Goldie.

During those disastrous times when winning a basketball game was a thing of the past for UST, everyone called for change. Everyone wanted Sablan out. All sorts of babble and derogation were thrown. Now that the most-wanted remodelling was done, some still scowl for not getting their desired person for the job.

Most people anticipated Jarencio’s return. Surely, it might have been a great continuation to a Cinderella story that is the Growling Tigers. But the team needs concrete answers more than anything at the moment, especially after coming off a season so bad, only one person was left watching in the stands in one of their games.

In the same statement by UST, it also commended Ayo for pushing through with the transfer despite being offered a “modest salary,” obviously lower than the ones he had with the De La Salle University, or even Colegio de San Juan de Letran.

The only tradition the University should keep aside from its winning ways, is its pattern of instilling healthy competition and refined moral values in its athletes, the rest is irrelevant. If UST wants to continue being the most productive and successful sports program in UAAP history, it must take necessary changes and move its vision forward, even if it means leaving some trends behind.

UST’s sports program should be ever-changing and adaptive of current measures. The University obviously has plans to add on its already-celebrated history, and tapping the backs of “outsiders” that share mutual convictions with it is a great first step in maintaining its legendary sporting status.

As a proud Thomasian myself and a sportswriter with extreme concern to our beloved University and its sports program, we should all embrace the changing times and brace for the future. Stop living in the past, for some traditions are meant to be dropped when circumstances arise.

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