Letran Knights head coach Aldin Ayo understands that in order to succeed in the NCAA basketball tournament, the team must treat the campaign as a marathon and not a sprint towards the finish line.
The Knights finished the first round on top of the team standings with an 8-1 card, with their only blemish provided by the EAC Generals in a game Ayo was not able to attend.
Ayo refuses to believe the team lost because he was not there, and added it was simply because Letran did not showcase its identity.
“We established a system na hindi naka-depende sa iisang player, sa coach, o sa star players. Basta (kapag) pinapaikot yung system na yun mananalo kami,” Ayo said.
“Hindi kami ‘yun especially on the defensive side. It’s one of those days when you wake up and it seems everything is wrong. It’s one of those days.”
Ayo added the team’s daily routine during that day was disrupted and they were never really able to find rhythm.
Moving forward, Ayo wants the Knights to maintain exerting effort, as it is what makes them “an extra-ordinary team.”
“Effort and decision-making. Maa-attribute natin yan sa how we execute. Every time we exert effort, we become an extra-ordinary team. Every time they step on the floor, I tell my guys na tingnan nila ang kalaban nila at sabihin how far will they go. Anong gagawin nila? Dahil kami, tanggap na namin,” he shared.
The Knights are headed to Baguio to further improve on their conditioning. Baguio is a high-altitude area where athletes like Manny Pacquiao and Mark Striegl used to train.
Ayo said the Knights need to strive in the second half, but also assured the Letran community they still have enough surprises in store.
“We are fortunate we are on the right spot but we have not proven anything yet. Mawawala ang lahat ng ito if hindi kami magpursige sa second round. We have to adjust,” he said.
“Marami pa kaming pabaon. Manggugulo pa kami.”
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