For collegiate basketball champion coaches Aldin Ayo of De La Salle University and Boyet Fernandez of San Beda College, the year 2017 would definitely be a challenging season when they defend their respective crowns.
Ayo, who steered De La Salle University to University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) men’s basketball tournament title last December, believes that Season 80 would be a lot tougher compared to the last season.
“There will be old and new coaches. Most of them already know my strategy, so they’ll adjust to it,” Ayo told The Manila Times during phone interview on Saturday. “We are aiming for back-to-back titles this coming season, but it’s going to be tough. It’s not that easy.”
He also said La Salle would be returning to practice on January 16.
“We’ll be starting again since Jeron Teng, Julian Sargent, Thomas Torres and Jason Perkins are no longer available next season. That’s the life in collegiate basketball some players will come and go. So it is a matter of adjustment,” he added.
Fernandez, on the other hand, returned as San Beda College head coach to fill the void left by former coach Jamike Jarin who is now the coach of National University. Fernandez led the Red Lions to 2013 and 2014 National Collegiate Athletic Association titles.
“I need to establish new relationship with the new San Beda players. Big responsibility awaits me starting January 6. There are only few players that I left there two years ago,” said Fernandez, who transferred to Northern Luzon Expressway in the Philippine Basketball Association in 2014.
Fernandez though was replaced by coach Yeng Guiao last October as NLEX coach.
“I inherited a champion team from coach Jamike (Jarin) so there’ll be a pressure,” he said. “The expectation is very high. It’s going to be a big disappointment if I’m not going to send the Red Lions back to the finals this coming season. We’re looking to some players like Jayvee Mocon, Benedict Adamos and Davon Potts this season.”
“It’s a different scenario when I took charge in 2013 and now. It’s a different set up but let’s see.”