<
>

Rhenz Abando, Ira Bataller set to leave the UST Growling Tigers

Rhenz Abando and Ira Bataller are set to leave the UST Growling Tigers.

Abando confirmed the development on social media after reports from Tiebreaker Times and SPIN.ph came out.

"Thank you for your unending grace!!!" Abando tweeted.

Meanwhile, a source told ESPN5.com that Ira Bataller is also on his way out.

Abando and Bataller are the third and fourth players to exit UST. Former team captain CJ Cansino was removed from the squad before joining the UP Fighting Maroons last Aug. 21, while Brent Paraiso confirmed on Twitter last Aug. 29 that he dropped out of UST.

The departures come after reports that the Tigers were allegedly holding practice in a bubble environment in Sorsogon. An inquiry is underway by UST, UAAP, and the government.

Abando was one of UST's bright spots in its run to the UAAP Season 82 men's basketball finals in 2019. He averaged 11.7 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks. If he decides to transfer to a UAAP school, he will only have two years of eligibility, but if he transfers to an NCAA school, he will have three years of eligibility.

It is not the first time Abando seemed poised to leave the Tigers. Coach Aldin Ayo last October benched Abando for allegedly being a poaching target by several universities.

Bataller, who claims the school did not tend to him when he got sick inside the alleged bubble, started in 14 games out of 19, and averaged 1.9 points, 2.9 rebounds, and 1.1 assists.