Ayo’s motivation was proving to Archers their sacrifice was worth it
Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Dec 07, 2016 09:50 PM
GIVE IN. Aldin Ayo wanted nothing more than for the DLSU Green Archers to believe in themselves just like he believed in them all throughout.
Before Game 1 of the Finals of the UAAP 79 Men’s Basketball Tournament, “Ateneo” was all head coach Aldin Ayo wrote on the board for De La Salle University to see.
He then told the Green Archers, “That is enough motivation.”
As it turns out, one word was also enough motivation for the now-UAAP champion coach. In his proverbial board, “DLSU” had to be all that was written.
“Gusto ko lang talagang manalo because of the support of the whole La Salle community. Kung paano magtrabaho, paano magsakripisyo yung mga bata, yun and motivation ko,” he said.
Ayo then went on to share how his boys had to wake up at 4:30 AM just to get ready for their morning practices. “Ang body clock ng mga ‘to, alas dos gising pa so grabe yung adjustment na yun. And still, they sacrificed and for sure, satisfied ang mga ito kasi sulit ang sacrifices,” he said.
Along with that, DLSU had championship-or-bust hanging over their heads throughout, and even before, the tournament. Still, they powered through as their mentor said, “We just embraced the pressure all season long.”
While they just wrapped up a 16-1 season, one of the most dominant campaigns in the history of the league, it undoubtedly wasn’t all that easy for the Archers. “People might think that we went 13-1 (in elimination round), but trust me, it wasn’t easy. This was hard because people were expecting us to be good,” Season MVP Mbala shared.
He then continued, “All of the teams wanted to beat us because they felt we were the team to beat. That’s the most challenging thing – to always step up.”
Fortunately for the Taft-based team, Ayo prepared them exactly for that. “But we were ready for all of it. That’s the reason made us go through hell and tonight, all of it finally paid off,” the Cameroonian said.
Indeed, ready, willing, and able to live up to expectations, DLSU left no doubt in having itself crowned as the king of the hill. So much so that opposing coach Tab Baldwin said, “Congratulations to La Salle. They were the best team all year long.”
He also added, “I think a lot of people may have been saying that they were much better than they were performing, but that’s exceptionally unfair. They had to fight hard to win this championship and they showed a lot of character in doing that and they deserve all the credit for that.”
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