Pacquiao’s presence fueled Letran’s drive to win, says coach

MANILA, Philippines – Colegio de San Juan de Letran head coach Aldin Ayo says that the presence of Filipino boxing icon Manny Pacquiao gave the Knights an extra push to win Game 1 of the best-of-3 championship series against San Beda College on Friday, October 23.

Pacquiao made his first official appearance as Letran’s team manager, sitting on the bench beside the players and the coaching staff as he witnessed the 94-90 win of the Muralla-based brigade against their longtime league rivals at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

Ayo revealed that the entire roster of the Letran squad was surprised when Pacquiao visited dugout before the tip-off and gave a quick pep talk.

“When he entered the locker room, I saw the players’ faces as they were elated that he was there,” he said. “I said in my past interviews that his name is already a motivation to us.”

After Letran’s victory over San Beda, Pacquiao treated the team to a dinner at an undisclosed place. The 8-division boxing champion is also the player-coach of the PBA’s Mahindra Enforcers, and is also a reserve on the ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) team the Powervit Pilipinas Aguilas team.

Game 2 will take place on Tuesday, October 27 at the same playing venue as San Beda will need to win to force a decisive Game 3 on October 29, while Letran will be looking to capture its first NCAA title since 2005. –