NEW GROWLING Tigers head coach Aldin Ayo will face his biggest challenge yet–to rebuild a team coming off its worst season in UAAP history.
Ayo, who jumped ship from the De La Salle University Green Archers to UST, admitted that turning a one-win team around is a “big responsibility.”
“We haven’t achieved anything yet. I think hindi [dapat] congratulations [yung pagbati], they should wish me luck because this will not be easy,” Ayo told the Varsitarian in an exclusive interview.
Ayo and his coaching staff met with the Tigers and school officials for the first time on Thursday at the Quadricentennial Pavillion.
“Rest assured that everyone will be given equal opportunities so walang problema. We’re going to have the whole season for that and we’ll make it final before the UAAP starts,” he said.
The 40-year-old coach said that he would employ the same full-court defense and run and gun offense that brought him two championships with the Letran Knights and the Green Archers in 2015 and 2016.
Practice sessions will start tomorrow and will serve as an evaluation period for the coaching staff.
“From now on every practice will serve as a form of evaluation. Every practice we’ll conduct, we’ll make sure na kita namin kung sino ang deserving, sino fit, at sino makakatulong sa team natin,” Ayo said.
The Varsitarian broke the news of Ayo’s confirmation to coach the Tigers last Jan. 5. Details of the contract are yet to be finalized until the coaching staff is complete.
Ayo will inherit a team that had eight rookies last year and struggled to close out games.
Last year, the Tigers were the worst in the league in turnovers (24.9), three-point percentage (24.7), and freethrow percentage (58.4).
“We’re going to maximize their potentials. I’m just going to allow them to play, make sure they enjoy the game and of course we’re going to instill the work ethic that we want because this season, we’re going to be the hardest working team, talagang magta-trabaho kami,” Ayo said.
A philosophy graduate of Dominican sister school Colegio de San Juan de Letran, Ayo said he opted to join UST partly because of his closeness with some Dominican priests
Ayo also cited “personal growth” as a main reason for his transfer.
“I believe that I can coach here the way things should be,” he said. “Second, most of the priests are my personal friends and my contemporaries in the seminary. Most of the seminarians in Sorsogon studied here [UST].”