“Sorsogon Bubble” participant testimony and Ayo’s chance to get reinstated

CEBU CITY, Philippines – A new twist of the story was presented by the embattled former UST Tigers coach Aldin Ayo to the government agency who is conducting the investigation on the alleged IATF violation committed during the team’s “Sorsogon Bubble” training.

Ayo was suspended by the UAAP Board for an indefinite period of time because of the ‘violations” he committed while the country was placed in quarantine protocols because of the Corona Virus Disease pandemic.

However, the pieces of evidence that Ayo submitted to the investigating panel might change things 360 degrees.

“Actually there were no violations. The controversies just arose after Cansino was dropped from the rooster. He (Cansino) exposed the alleged violations of the IATF protocols, the training, the food and later the issue of some players wanted to go home. But there was no violation. In fact, right now there is an appeal filed by coach Aldin (to the UAAP Board) to lift his suspension because all the evidence of violations as what was stated in the news, did not really take place” a source of iNews.Ph revealed in exchange for anonymity.

Among the evidence that Ayo submitted to the investigators were the Parent’s consent letters; certification from the barangay captain for each player attending at the training camp; results of the RT-PCR test of players that shows nobody has or had been infected with the coronavirus; travel authority issued by PNP Director-General; and permit from the local city government of Sorsogon that allowed them to hold the event.

Just recently, Ayo added the certification from the governor of Sorsogon Francis “Chiz” Escudero dated Sept. 28, 2020, that said Ayo strictly followed the health protocols and guidelines of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF-EID).

The certification stated:

This is to certify that based on the Sorsogon City Police Station Memorandum dated September 23, 2020 (Annex A) the Office of the Governor is in consonance with said Memorandum’s findings considering that there is a clear exhibition of legitimate activities undertaken by former UST Head Coach Aldin V. Ayo, that the actions performed by former Coach Aldin Ayo is in accordance with the health protocol and guidelines as per existing Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease and that there was no UST sanctioned team basketball training conducted by his guests outside of his residence within the jurisdiction of the Province of Sorsogon, and that Mr. Aldin V. Ayo is not liable for the violation of any health protocol pursuant EID-IATF guidelines and local executive orders in the Province of Sorsogon.

The training camp started sometimes in the middle of June and broke up barely a month after it began.

“When we arrived (in Sorsogon) we underwent a 14-day quarantine (as ordered by the LGU) that was in June but after a month we packed up when the troubles arise. We were supposed to end in December, but I believed it was only a jest. He told us we may leave whenever we wanted to. Actually there was no formal basketball training. Coach Aldin wanted to improve our time management daily by doing farm training because he thought that could help us win. Basketball is not a priority. There were no scrimmages because that was against the government rules. We did some shooting (hoops) and we also worked on our individual skills, though” iNews source continued.

IATF eased up the quarantine protocols in June. Most of the Metro Manila and other highly urbanized cities except for Cebu City and Talisay City were placed under the General Community Quarantine (GCQ) while the rest of the country which was deemed Low-Risk areas were classified under the more relaxed Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ) that includes Sorsogon Province.

On July 3, IATF announced the approval of the request of the PBA for the resumption of training and conditioning of basketball players.

An article published by pna.gov.ph, a government news agency portal on July 3 stated that “The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) has allowed basketball and football players to resume their training, Malacañang said on Friday.

During a Laging Handa briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the IATF-EID, during its meeting on Thursday, approved the resumption of practice for the two team sports amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) outbreak.”

In May IATF-EID issued Resolution 38 that allowed the resumption of activities on non-contact sporting that includes running/jogging/walking, biking, golf, swimming, tennis, badminton, equestrian and skateboarding in areas under GCQ.

“Since Cansino was the captain he made the efforts to speak about the complaints about food and going home. He did all that because the other was afraid to talk. Cansino also took the initiative to contact the parents. I think Coach Aldin was insulted by that so he sent Cansino home and dropped him from the rooster. The food was not a big issue. Most of those we ate were pang probinsya foods. Maybe they did not like it. Maybe homesick. Being away from the family. I say coach Aldin did not do anything wrong, contrary to what Cansino, Brent Paraiso and the other players who jumped-ship after the “UST Bubble” controversy broke open to the public.”

As of the moment, UST is yet to name a replacement for Ayo while almost the entire UST community is asking for his reinstatement with this recent turnaround.