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‘Promdi’ coach new toast of college basketball

  • Written by Theodore P. Jurado
  • Published in Basketball
  • Read: 175
AYO: On cloud nine AYO: On cloud nine

ALDIN Ayo takes pride in being a “promdi” coach.

From his humble beginnings in Sorsogon, Ayo is now the toast of college basketball, becoming the first one ever to earn back-to-back NCAA and UAAP championships as a rookie coach in both leagues.

“Yung achievement na nakuha ko ngayon, malaking bagay ito sa mga coaches na naka-based sa provinces. Kasi ako lang ’yung coach na hindi binigyan ng opportunity dito sa Manila,” said Ayo.

The 39-year-old mentor, who steered his alma mater Letran and powerhouse La Salle to the throne in the last two years, wants to give back and share coaching experiences that he got in the big leagues in a short span of time
   
“Galing talaga ako sa probinsiya and I was given the opportunity to coach here and ganito ang na-achieve ko. Madaming tumitingala sa akin na mga coaches from the provinces eh. Kaya nga plano ko after this season, pupunta ako sa provinces nila for free,” said Ayo.
   
“Gusto ko lang tumulong sa mga coaches na galing sa provinces at ma-encourage sila na kahit wala kayong kilala sa Manila…as long as you work hard, as long as you love the game, magpursige ka, kaya ng mga coaches from the provinces dito sa Manila,” he added.
   
In everything, Ayo has made adjustments.
   
Already a marked man as his “mayhem” defensive system was instrumental in making the Knights the NCAA kings last year, Ayo made key adjustments as the season progressed but stuck on what he is doing to help the Green Archers claim their ninth title.
   
“This championship is more difficult. Ang dami  kong natutunan from the coaches,” said Ayo, who also led La Salle to the Filoil Flying V pre-season championship last summer.
   
The Archers will lose Finals MVP Jeron Teng, Thomas Torres, Jason Perkins and Julian Sargent to graduation, but Ayo is still upbeat on his team’s chances next year.
   
After all, La Salle has Season MVP Ben Mbala, past Rookie of the Year winners Aljun Melecio and Andrei Caracut, as well as the rest of the holdovers who are ready to step up for next year’s title defense.
   
Living up to his dream, Ayo is now more than a coach from the province who can steer a team – whether an ultimate underdog (Letran) or a consensus title favorite (La Salle) – to success.