Ayo makes history with back-to-back titles, but puts DLSU glory first
MANILA, Philippines – In just two years, Aldin Ayo has already built up quite the college basketball coaching resume.
After leading the Letran Knights to the 2015 NCAA title in his first season coaching the team, Ayo helped the DLSU Green Archers win their first UAAP title in 3 years on Wednesday, December 7, also in his rookie season mentoring La Salle.
When asked about the accomplishment during his post-championship victory presser at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum, Ayo said he wasn’t focused on building his individual accolades.
“Actually I was not thinking about it. I just [wanted] to win the championship,” he told the media.
“I was not thinking kung ano mga ibang ma-accomplish kung manalo (about what I’d be able to accomplish if I won),” he later added. “I just wanted to win this championship. That’s all.”
La Salle won 16 out of 17 games this UAAP season, capped off by a championship series sweep of its biggest rival, Ateneo.
Entering the UAAP season, the Green Archers were the consensus favorite to win the title, and they did not fall short of expectations.
“We just embraced the pressure, all-season long, and pumasok sa (when we got in the) finals, it was against Ateneo, the more lumaki (it got bigger), the more nagkaroon nang sobrang (there was) heart, because of the rivalry. Pero (but), bottomline naman, pare, basketball.”
Even if La Salle’s record looks nearly flawless, the team faced many challenges along the way, according to the head coach. Ayo was particularly unhappy following his team’s victory in the Final Four against Adamson - a game after which he challenged his players’ intentions once the cameras and televisions were rolling.
“It was not easy, kasi tataas, bababa, tataas, bababa. Kagandahan duon, yung (it would go up then down then up then down. What was nice was during the) latter part, after that won game against Adamson - we played, for me, our worst game - after I challenged these guys, they responded.”
Ayo also noted the sacrifice given by his players, who were led by league MVP Ben Mbala and Finals MVP Jeron Teng.
“These guys have sacrificed a lot. Yung araw-araw, especially yung first part nang season namin, kasi nagigising yung mga ‘ito nang 4:30 in the morning because of ‘yung morning practices namin,” said the head coach, who even joked that his players used to sleep during the wee hours of the morning, adding difficulty to the training schedules.
(These guys have sacrificed a lot. The every day part, especially the first part of our season, because these kids had to get up at 4:30 in the morning because of our morning practices.)
“They sacrificed and for sure, satisfied ang mga ‘ito.”
(For sure, they are satisfied.)
The players next to him - Teng, Aljun Melecio, and Abu Tratter - all nodded in agreement. – Rappler.com