DLSU’s Ayo: ‘There’s always a first time’

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Nov 06, 2016 12:10 PM
DLSU’s Ayo: ‘There’s always a first time’
UNFAMILIAR TERRITORY. For the first time in the season, no one from DLSU entered the press room for a post-win interview.

De La Salle University’s historic season is no more.

Figured out and then dismantled by archrival Ateneo de Manila University last Saturday, the Green Achers now hold a 12-1 win-loss record.

No rivalry game sweep. No elimination round sweep. No perfect season.

Still, coach Aldin Ayo looked far from disappointed when he chatted with reporters after the game. He expressed then, all with a smile, “Well, there’s always a first time. Masama lang e, galing pa sa Ateneo.”

Asked what happened and how the Blue Eagles sullied their once-spotless slate, the first-year mentor said he could not have asked anything more from his boys. “Hindi ko maku-question yung effort ng mba bata kasi grabe magtrabaho yung mga bata. If there’s someone to blame, ako yun – actually, hindi lang ako, the whole coaching staff,” he said.

He then continued, “Yung mga bata, they’re doing their best. Siguro, kulang lang pinagawa namin kaya ganun.”

Indeed, for the first time in the season, the league-leaders found their match in their longtime archrivals. In fact, they got outworked in departments that have gotten used to dominate – 83-71 in points, 50-34 in inside points, 48-43 in rebounds, 20-10 in assists, and 55-24 in bench points.

However, Ayo reminded everybody that their first loss in 13 games is not the end of the world. “Siyempre (the players) feel bad, pero sabi ko nga sa kanila, we have to savor whatever feeling na meron kasi it will help us a lot,” he said.

He then continued, “Wala namang titinag sa amin e. Kahit Ateneo nakatalo sa amin, kahit this is our first loss, we’re still a team and I think mas makakatulong sa amin ‘to in terms of motivation.”

Don’t make the mistake that the always fiery one-time NCAA coach is seeing that first and only mark in their loss column as a good thing. “A loss can never be a relief e. Siyempre, gusto rin sana sweep, pero hindi naman namin talaga iniisip yun,” he said.

He then continued, “Ako, pinapunta ako rito para sa championship, hindi para sa kung ano-anong mga ibang achievements. I just want to win the championship.”

How he sees it, Ateneo head coach Tab Baldwin also believes the upset could only help the league-leaders. As he put it, “Next time anyone faces La Salle, they are going to be much stronger. They will benefit from this first loss.”


Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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