The UST Growling Tigers head coaching position is now vacant after the resignation of Aldin Ayo. With investigations still ongoing about the possible quarantine protocols that Ayo and the team committed, the Tigers will eventually try to move forward with a new coach at the helm.
Here is a list of potential coaches who can commandeer the rebuilding UST basketball program.
Siot Tanquingcen is among the three names surfaced as frontrunners for the head coaching job alongside Chris Cantonjos, and Estong Ballesteros, as reported by The Manila Bulletin.
Tanguingcen has been part of great teams in his long basketball career, including as an integral part of UST's four-peat championship run in the 1990s. And even though he had a short stint in the pro ranks, he played for beloved teams San Miguel Beermen and in the MBA's Pampanga Dragons.
Among the crowning achievements in Tanquingcen's career was becoming the head coach of powerhouses Barangay Ginebra and San Miguel. His resume speaks for itself as he served on numerous teams in different capacities, amassing three PBA titles under his belt. He dipped his toes in the collegiate ranks when he became an assistant for the DLSU Green Archers in 2015 and most recently with the CSB Blazers.
A former UAAP MVP, Cantojos is a three-time college champion. He first became an assistant for UST's high school program in 2010 before becoming the head coach for the Tigers Cubs in 2016. Coincidentally, his last season as Juniors coach was former UST star CJ Cansino's senior year.
Cantonjos also handled the school's women's team, leading the Golden Tigresses to several Final Four appearances.
Ballesteros is also a former Growling Tiger who was part of the school's famed championship squads. He is a familiar face in the UAAP ranks, serving as the top assistant during Pido Jarencio's tenure. Most recently, he was the head coach of the UE Junior Warriors in Season 82. He also served as an assistant for the late Bong Tan and consultant Lawrence Chongson in the same season.
Drafted fourth overall in the 1997 PBA draft, Ballesteros was an exceptional forward. His professional career included stops at Shell, Coca-Cola, and Barangay Ginebra.
The former UST standout was among the frontrunners to land the Tigers' head coaching job after Jarencio. However, the position was given to Bong Dela Cruz but Ballesteros remained as an assistant for a season.
Aside from the three aforementioned names, there are other possible candidates that can fill the void left by Aldin Ayo.
Like his contemporaries, Fran is a proud UST champion, having been part of the famed 1993 squad that swept the UAAP tournament. Drafted 10th overall in the 1996 PBA draft, Fran was unfortunately left unsigned by Purefoods. He eventually broke through and was placed in Mobiline's lineup. Aside from a brief stay with Air21, he spent most of his career with the Talk 'N Text franchise.
Known as a defensive gem and hustle player, he was a member of the All-Defensive team thrice. He was also awarded the league's Most Improved Player in 1998 and the Samboy Lim Sportsmanship Award in 2003.
Fran, who is a deputy for Meralco, was also part of the coaching staff of former UST mentor Boy Sablan.
Pido Jarencio is obviously no stranger to UST basketball. He was a bonafide scorer during his playing days for the Glowing Goldies in the 1980s. After a long career with different franchises in the PBA, he returned to his alma mater as a coach. In his very first season on the sidelines in 2006, he helped the Tigers capture the UAAP Season 69 title over the Ateneo Blue Eagles. UST was a perennial contender in Jarencio's eight-year reign with back-to-back trips to the finals before his departure in 2013.
Jarencio has always been in the conversation of possible UST coaches even while making his mark as a coach in the PBA. His illustrious career both as player and coach with championship pedigree is no small feat that the UST community will forget anytime soon.