Ayo reminds Knights, Taft is not that far from Intramuros
SEE YOU AGAIN. Aldin Ayo wants the Knights he left behind to remember that Taft Avenue is not that far from Intramuros.
During the most awkward of moments, Aldin Ayo confirmed Colegio de San Juan de Letran’s biggest fears.
The coach who excelled his way into an NCAA championship in only his first year on the job finally publicly declared last Friday that he will be taking his talents to Taft Avenue. In the midst of a community supposedly celebrating its 17th championship, he received respectful applause when he entered and tepid applause when he spoke.
As he tells it, his beloved Knights themselves have the same mixed, if not uncertain, emotions for him. “Mabigat nung kinausap ko ang mga players (about his decision). May mga umiyak, may mga nagalit,” he said.
He also added, “Pinakatinamaan ako sa sinabi ni Rey (Nambatac) at Mcjour (Luib).” Nambatac, most likely next in line as King Knight, and Luib, whom Ayo repeatedly said is the one player he is reminded of himself, will be two key figures in Letran’s title defense for next season.
And both of them had no idea at all that they won’t have the man who turned them into winners to guide them from here on. “’Di naman sa favorite, pero siya yung nakahanap ng tamang role para sa akin at tinanggap ko nang buong-buo,” Luib shared with ABS-CBN Sports.
“Yun yung pinakamami-miss ko. Kung kelan ako nagkaganito (perfect mentor), saka mawawala,” the Knights’ Mr. Intangibles continued.
Nambatac wasn’t going to mask how much he was going to miss Ayo either. “Kaming dalawa ni Mcjour, kami yung senior kaya mas nanghinayang kami. Kung kelan namin natutunang isuko sarili namin sa sistema, saka siya aalis,” he expressed.
He then continued, “Sa sistema kasi ni coach, dun namin nakitang makukuha namin yung gusto namin pareho sa basketball at sa buhay.”
Both of them, however, said that they, and the rest of the team, have nothing against their now-departed coach. As Nambatac put it, “Masakit sa amin, pero kelangan naming intindihin si coach. Hindi naman siya basta-basta mag-decide kung ganyan ka-complicated.”
On a more personal note, Luib said, “Thankful pa rin ako na dumating siya sa akin.”
For his part, Ayo said that as far as things other than being on the sidelines himself is concerned, nothing should change in the relationship between him and his Letran boys. As he promised, “I will always be there for them. Malapit lang naman Taft sa Intramuros.”
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