UAAP Season 82 Finals: Ito yung sakit na for sure na matututo kami -- Ayo

Mark Escarlote on Nov 21, 2019 08:50 AM
 Ito yung sakit na for sure na matututo kami -- Ayo
Mas masakit ito. Pero ito yung sakit na for sure na matututo kami -- UST coach Aldin Ayo (Photo by Arvin Lim)

University of Sto. Tomas head coach Aldin Ayo believed that his Growling Tigers could measure up against the mighty Ateneo de Manila Blue Eagles in the UAAP Season 82 men’s basketball Finals.

For some it was a longshot or UST may have just overachieved but Ayo held on to his faith that they had what it takes to give Ateneo a run for its money.

That’s why the Growling Tigers’ defeat hurt even more.   

“In a way [overachieve] pero I told the kids na it is more painful to lose in the Finals than not making it to the Final Four,” said Ayo on Wednesday after UST absorbed a 79-86 loss to three-peat champion Blue Eagles on Wednesday at the MOA Arena.

The fourth-seeded Tigers’ journey to the championship – their first since a runner-up finish in 2015 – toughened UST up when they won against Far Eastern University in the first semis stepladder phase and pulled off an upset over twice-to-beat University of the Philippines.

But reality hit them hard against an unbeaten and well-experienced foe.

“I told them that na dumating kami dito, we need to make sure that we are up to it,” said Ayo. “Mas masakit ito. Pero ito yung sakit na for sure na matututo kami.”

The series opener showed the dominance of the Blue Eagles. The Tigers gave Ateneo a scare midway in the fourth quarter of Game 2 only to falter in the end.

“Siguro, ngayong Game Two. Pero yung Game One, it was a learning experience for us especially dun sa mga rookies. I'm sure, they were able to learn a lot, especially playing in a Finals atmosphere. Dun kami nagkaproblema nung Game One,” said Ayo.

“’Yung Game Two naman, there were stretches na I was really disappointed. There were things na hindi namin nagawa especially sa depensa,” he added. “But I told the boys that I may look like disappointed but actually, I was disappointed with myself and sa coaching staff. Yun yung mga bagay na tinrabaho namin nung preseason na lumabas dito sa Finals na in-exploit ng Ateneo.”

The Tigers may be licking their wounds right now but what they learned this season gave UST the much needed fuel for next year.

“Next season madadala namin ‘yung experience namin this season especially sa nine rookies namin,” said Ayo.




Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles

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