From the court to the dorm, Ayo a fatherly figure for DLSU
Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Oct 20, 2016 08:14 PM
ON AND OFF COURT. Aldin Ayo is not only the head coach of DLSU, he also serves as an on-call counsel for the Green Archers.
De La Salle University are officially back in the Final Four following a 25-point destruction of National University last Wednesday.
Missing out on the playoffs a year ago, the Green Archers have now fulfilled their most modest of goals.
The undoubted title favorites have achieved nothing yet, if head coach Aldin Ayo is to be believed. As he put it, “’Di nagma-matter sa akin ang Final Four kasi nga, lahat ng ito will be for naught if we don’t win the championship. Our eyes are set on the championship.”
The fiery mentor’s claim isn’t surprising as even during the preseason, DLSU recognized that this season was championship or bust for them. “Call it pressure, everybody is expecting us to win. Pero sabi ko nga nung (preseason) press con, the pressure motivates us,” he said.
With Kib Montalbo, Jason Perkins, Julian Sargent, Jeron Teng, and Thomas Torres the only players with at least four years of experience, the Archers actually have to be considered a young team.
The good news for youngsters like reigning Rookie of the Year Andrei Caracut and first-year studs Aljun Melecio and Ricci Rivero, they have someone to ease the burden of championship expectations right in their home. “Maraming pressure dyan, pero I always talk to them individually. That’s why doon ako tumitira sa dorm namin at halos nandun ako araw-araw,” Ayo shared.
He then continued, “There are players na nakakaramdam na ng pressure and ako na nagka-counsel sa kanila.”
Clearly, the one-time NCAA champion coach’s on-call counseling is working as DLSU have rolled to 10 wins in as many games. They also have two of the top three individual performers in the league.
Just last Wednesday, Ayo sent in all 15 of his players and all but one of them contributed in the scoring column to overwhelm the Bulldogs. “Hindi talaga (kami) mapapagod. Ang haba ng rotation namin e,” he expressed.
He then continued, “There were players that I did not use in the first half and I used them in the second half and they still delivered. So kung titignan natin ang mindset ng mga bata, they are always ready regardless kung kelan sila ipapasok.”
Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.