Former assistant Jinno Manansala set to be appointed interim UST head coach

Jinino "Jinno" Manansala, who had tendered his resignation a few weeks back as an assistant of the UST Growling Tigers, will be named the team's next head coach on an interim basis, sources told ESPN5.com.

Manansala is a former team captain of the Growling Tigers and played for famed mentor Aric del Rosario in the late 1990s. He is the son of former PBA player Jimmy.

Manansala and fellow former assistant McJour Luib reportedly met with UST officials in the UST campus late Thursday morning, the sources said. Luib will reportedly handle the UST Tiger Cubs.

Following his playing career, Manansala led St. Clare to four NAASCU titles as its head coach, on top of the 2019 PBA D-League Foundation Cup title. He is also coach of the UST Tiger Cubs in the UAAP juniors division.

He was picked over numerous applicants for the job, including Sean Chambers, Gilbert Lao, Aris Dimaunahan, Estong Ballesteros, Lenny Reyes, Ed Cordero, Chris Gavina, Potit de Vera, and Chris Daleo.

The source added that his Thomasian background and knowledge of the basketball program were the main reasons why he was chosen as Aldin Ayo's successor. Ayo was forced to resign after an investigation spearheaded by the Inter-Agency Task Force found him liable for protocol violations during the controversial Sorsogon bubble. The UAAP Board of Trustees later slapped him with an indefinite ban.

For now, Manansala will be in charge of a program that had lost eight of its players, including former skipper CJ Cansino, high flyer Rhenz Abando, and UAAP Season 82 rookie of the year Mark Nonoy. His designation as an interim coach comes after the school will reportedly back Ayo's appeal to the UAAP Board to reconsider his ban, presumably on the basis of a PNP report absolving Ayo of any wrongdoing with regard to the Sorsogon bubble.