Cruz on Letran’s training: ‘Para kaming mga sundalo’
Tricia Robredo on Jun 24, 2015 05:13 PM
SOLDIERING ON. After an initial feeling out period, the Letran Knights have completely bought into new coach Aldin Ayo's philosophy.
Although unable to make the semifinals, the Colegio de San Juan de Letran Knights still put up a good performance in the 2015 Filoil Flying V Preseason Tournament. They even got a lot of heads turning after pulling off an upset against defending UAAP champion National University, eliminating the latter from contention.
In a post-game interview, team captain Mark Cruz shared with ABS-CBN Sports that things have changed in their camp with the arrival of new head coach Aldin Ayo. “Kakaiba yung disiplina ng players ngayon. Parang mga sundalo kami sa training.”
Surprisingly, coach Aldin is just implementing a program similar to the ones he had with kids he used to train. Inspired by coach Eric Altamirano’s National Basketball Training Center, coach Aldin has been involved with grade school and high school grassroots squads.
Having handled provincial and very young teams in the past, he struggled when he first arrived to Manila for the collegiate league. “Unang araw ko (sa Letran), ‘di ako pinapasok ng guards kasi ‘di ako kilala. Doon ko naramdaman na hindi magiging madali. Kasi kung sila ganoon na, paano pa kaya mga players ko?”
Ayo has been with the Knights since late last year, but admits that he only got everyone onboard last month. “Susukatin ka ng players sa Manila. It took a while bago ko nabenta sa kanila yung sistema. Hindi yun nadaan basta-basta sa salita.”
Days before the start of the NCAA, coach Aldin believes his team is doing just fine as he said, “Malayo pa, pero halos buo na.” After playing most of the NCAA rivals over the summer, he saw what the Knights still have to improve on and adjusted accordingly.
At the moment, coach Aldin is not thinking about redemption or exacting revenge for his new team. “The goal for now is to score as many wins as we can and to continue to improve as the tournament progresses.” It’s a new chapter for the Letran Knights and he wants to start fresh, in high spirits, and with a proper mindset.