UST spikers start buildup this early

UNIVERSITY of Santo Tomas boosted its frontline for the future UAAP men's basketball wars by snaring forwards Bryan Santos and Ivan Santos from Technological Institute of the Philippines.

The erstwhile Engineers standouts can be eligible for the Season 83 tournament due to the transfer rule on student-athletes coming off a disbanded program.

The Growling Tigers are not in the hurry though to break the Santoses in, as coach Aldin Ayo, in an online interview, said that they will put them in for Seasons 84 and 85.

“Undersized ang mga bigs namin, kaya welcome sa amin ang ganitong mga recuits. Yung ibang bigs namin, makaka-slide na sila sa three-spot,” said Ayo, who is spending the lockdown in his native Sorsogon.

Seriously affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, TIP has suspended the operations of the school’s athletics program as a cost-cutting measure due to the decrease of enrollees and the lack of sporting events for the foreseeable future.

“It was an inevitable circumstance,” said coach Potit De Vera, who was instrumental in revitalizing the Engineers' men's basketball program in the past decade.

TIP has been participating in the UCBL and the PBA D-League, while its women's volleyball team has been a regular in the PVL Collegiate Conference.

“With no clear timetable as to when a vaccine will eradicate this COVID-19 virus and make it safe again to resume sports in our country, TIP ownership has dissolved all varsity programs,” said De Vera.

The Engineers have been doing well in basketball in the past few years, thanks to the solid performances of the 6-foot-5 Bryan and 6-foot-6 Ivan Santos that definitely caught the eye of Ayo.

School teams looking for big men can also take a look of Senegal's Papa Ndiaye, who at 6-foot-8 is an outstanding rebounder and defender for TIP. Sandagon is an athletic wing with good size.

The Engineers' backcourt pair of Christian Daguro and Gc Carurucan are solid guards while Ximone Ace Sandagon is also a reliable forward.

"They are all commendable," said De Vera.