• Ayo vows to give more titles to La Salle

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    De La Salle University head coach Aldin Ayo wants to win more championships in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) men’s basketball tournament.

    Two days after winning his second title in a different collegiate league last Wednesday at the expense of Ateneo De Manila University, the coach from Sorsogon province in Bicol is now looking forward to the next seasons.

    “I’m going for the back-to-back or for the three-peat or for the four-peat because that’s our program,” the former Colegio San Juan de Letran Knights head coach told reporters during interview. “To all my players in the bench and to our Team B, they are all align for next year until the third and fourth year.” “It’s not just about winning this season. It’s about the program, the continuity of the program which is to stay on top. I’ll make sure to improve them, make sure that I will coach here and win another championship.”

    De La Salle University’s Jeron Teng goes for a layup against three Ateneo de Manila University defenders during Game 2 of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) men’s basketball tournament. PHOTO BY RUSSELL PALMA

    De La Salle University’s Jeron Teng goes for a layup against three Ateneo de Manila University defenders during Game 2 of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) men’s basketball tournament. PHOTO BY RUSSELL PALMA

    Ayo will be losing team captain Jeron Teng, Juliant Sargent, Thomas Torres and Jason Perkins next year because they already finished their playing years. “It’s hard to find a Jeron Teng next year. His leadership is very valuable on the team as well as players like Sargent and Jason,” he said.

    “I’m very optimistic next year because I have players that I really like and can play in my system.”

    Ayo and his coaching staff, who just coached the Green Archers this season, employed the demanding ‘mayhem defense’ to La Salle’s basketball system since the start of Season 79 turning them to a defensive wrecking machine.

    Despite the sacrifices of the players, the Green Archers achieved their objective this season by winning 13 of their 14 games in the elimination round that earned them a twice-to-beat advantage.

    They survived the Adamson University Falcons in the Final Four before sweeping the Blue Eagles in the best-of-three finals. La Salle won Game 1 (67-65) and Game 2 (79-72) to receive its ninth UAAP men’s basketball title in front of 17, 495 spectators.

    “The hard work and the sacrifice of all the players have finally paid off. They woke up every morning at 4:30 am to start training,” said Ayo. “I told them that the mayhem system is very demanding. I’m really happy that they listened and trusted the process.”

    Ayo, also during his first year as coach, led Letran to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) men’s basketball crown last year.

    Although he is the first ever coach to win the NCAA and UAAP titles in succeeding years, from 2015 to 2016, during his first year as coach of Letran and La Salle, Ayo didn’t give much emphasized to it.

    “All I’ve wanted is to win and that’s all. Not thinking about anything that I would accomplish,” explained Ayo. “Although the hype of the La Salle-Ateneo rivalry is very high, the bottom line was I just wanted to win. “I’m really happy and thankful that I achieved it.”

    Ayo also thanked his rival coaches for the experience.

    “I learned a lot from my fellow coaches in the UAAP like coaches Franz (Pumaren), Dindo (Pumaren), Eric (Altamirano) and coach Bo (Perasol). They are all good coaches.”

    He also said he is also planning to give free coaching seminars or clinics to coaches in the provinces. “I like to encourage and help them (provincial coaches).”

    Without Teng next year, Season 79 Most Valuable Player Ben Mbala might be the possible next leader of the Green Archers.

    “I’m planning to join the D-League (Philippine Basketball Association-Developmental League) next year in January,” said Teng.

    Besides Mbala, the cornerstone of La Salle next year will definitely be composed of Kib Montalbo, Andrei Caracut, Abu Tratter and Aljun Melecio.

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