Ayo has full faith that Montalbo will do whatever it takes to win
Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Nov 12, 2017 08:03 PM
TRUST, BIG WORD. Head coach Aldin Ayo's trust in team captain Kib Montalbo never ever wavered.
Kib Montalbo made the big plays in the endgame in De La Salle University’s big-time comeback victory versus archrival Ateneo de Manila University on Sunday.
It was Montalbo who made good on the go-ahead basket that brought back the Green Archers from a 69-76 deficit with 2:21 remaining. “Coach called for a play, but I didn’t see anyone open. I saw the lane kind of open and just took what the defense gave me,” he said.
After giving his team a 77-76 lead, the captain then collared the rebound after their defensive stop at the other end.
Not long after, Isaac Go’s botched short stab and Ricci Rivero’s free throws and block on Anton Asistio put the finishing touches on the Taft-based team’s unbelievable comeback.
Without a doubt, it took total team effort for DLSU to put the first blemish on the erstwhile spotless slate of their archrivals.
Still, it very well wouldn’t have happened without Montalbo who steadied the ship in the endgame. “Me and coach, we just reminded everybody to just play tough. We didn’t change anything,” he told reporters after they wrapped up the 79-76 come-from-behind win.
For head coach Aldin Ayo, it was no surprise that his team leader made the big plays in the endgame. As he put it, “That’s Kib Montalbo – he’s a winner. He’s going to do his best, his very best to help us win especially in crucial situations.”
He then continued, “It may be a field goal, it may be a defensive stop, it may be a steal, whatever way he can help, he’s going to do that for the team. That’s Kib Montalbo for you.”
That held true even though in the archrivals’ meeting in the first round, it was Montalbo’s wayward inbound that led to Matt Nieto’s steal and eventual game-winning free throws. “That first game, Kib had lots of mistakes. That doesn’t change the way paano ko tinitignan si Kib,” Ayo said.
He then continued, “He’s one of my leaders so whatever he does, I am going to support him.”
That kind of trust does has done wonders for the five-foot-nine guard. “To have a coach like that really means a lot sa confidence level ng isang player. If you’re open, take the shot, ganun si coach,” he shared.
And that goes not only for him. “Yung team namin, anyone can take over. Whether you have it or not, if you have the shot, take it,” Montalbo said.
He then continued, “Ganun din binibigay ni coach sa lahat ng players.”
Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.