K-Racs the glue that will hold together Coach Aldin's NCAA First 5
Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Jul 31, 2020 04:10 PM
One-time NCAA and one-time UAAP champion coach Aldin Ayo has a knack for getting the best out of his players
Aldin Ayo has been calling the shots for University of Sto. Tomas from 2018 to present.
Before this, the always amiable mentor was at the helm of De La Salle University from 2016 to 2017.
And before this, Coach Aldin was the head coach for alma mater Colegio de San Juan de Letran in 2015.
Through all of that, he has had a hand in the discovery and the development of young talent for his teams as well as the game planning for the opposing rising stars.
Among all of those, who are the best of the best for him? Here is Aldin Ayo's NCAA First 5, as he told ABS-CBN Sports:
The Jalalon of 2015 was not yet the Jalalon of 2016 - you know, the one who drove Arellano University all the way to the Finals.
Still, that younger Jalalon posed problems even for Coach Aldin and his "mayhem" in Letran. "A two-way player. He knows his role as a point guard," the latter said of the former.
Jalalon's shine as a full-fledged superstar came in the season after Ayo left Intramuros, but the latter has always been a good judge of potential and saw just that in the former.
Unlike Jalalon, Thompson was already at the peak of his powers in Coach Aldin's one and only season in Letran.
And so, the fiery tactician had a frontrow seat to the type of all-around impact University of Perpetual Help's proud product can have. "Very, versatile player plus good character," he said.
Thompson fell short of winning a game against Coach Aldin's Knights, but without a doubt, the former won the admiration of the latter.
Racal does not necessarily get the shine that Mark Cruz - or Rey Nambatac, for that matter - does.
However, it cannot be denied that the 6-foot-4 forward is the perfect personification of the versatility Coach Aldin seeks from his players.
Whether it be defending Ola Adeogun, dogging Baser Amer, delivering an assist, or drilling a timely three, Racal can do it all - and he did it all to help Letran in its Cinderella run to the title. "He is a winner in all aspects," Ayo said.
ART DELA CRUZ
Adeogun was far from full strength, Amer got injured in the elimination round, and so, San Beda University's one and only constant was Art Dela Cruz.
The do-it-all forward made his presence felt all over for the Red Lions and was the first and foremost reason why they stayed afloat despite the health of their other two big guns.
In Dela Cruz, the red and white had, pretty much, what Coach Aldin had in Racal. "One of the most versatile players in college basketball. His basketball IQ is off the charts. He can be a point forward," the former Letran coach said.
Like all of the above, Oraeme can do damage both on offense and defense.
"Rim protector on defense then on offense, he will be the recipient of the playmaking of Jalalon, Thompson, Racal, and Dela Cruz," Coach Aldin said, talking about the back-to-back MVP from Mapua University.
Indeed, the Nigerian tower will not be forced to do much too much on offense with his four teammates all capable and confident of making plays - and will just expend his energy standing as a nightmare for opponents at the defensive end.
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