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Aldin Ayo tells UST not to celebrate Finals berth: ‘Hindi pa tapos’

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Tiebreaker Times Aldin Ayo tells UST not to celebrate Finals berth: 'Hindi pa tapos' Basketball News UAAP UST  UST Men's Basketball UAAP Season 82 Men's Basketball UAAP Season 82 Aldin Ayo

When University of Santo Tomas clinched the last ticket to the UAAP Season 82 Men’s Basketball Finals, Aldin Ayo just flashed a smile and shared a few hugs with the rest of the team. 

There were no primal screams nor arms raised.

Maybe it was because Ayo has made it to the biggest of stages in the collegiate scene for the fourth time in the last five years. Or maybe it’s because the work is still only halfway done.

Tiebreaker Times Aldin Ayo tells UST not to celebrate Finals berth: 'Hindi pa tapos' Basketball News UAAP UST  UST Men's Basketball UAAP Season 82 Men's Basketball UAAP Season 82 Aldin Ayo

“Wala pa kaming na-aachieve. We haven’t achieved anything yet. That’s what I told the players after the game. Well, they were celebrating.”

Seeing their head coach stoic, Renzo Subido and the Growling Tigers apologized to the three-time collegiate champion coach. Fortunately, he quickly accepted.

Tears were also flowing as the final buzzer sounded. From the stands to the people on the floor, everyone clad in yellow relished the moment — including Ayo’s wife Mina Joy.

“Nakita ko lang ‘yung celebration ako… Mdyo nag-worry ako ng konti kasi ayaw ko makita ng ganung celebration na mukhang silang nakukunteto eh,” continued Ayo.

“And some of the coaching staff were crying, even my wife was crying, but I told her, sabi ko ‘Mommy wala pa tayo na-aachieve e’. So we have to refocus and prepare for out next game.”

Only a few expected Ayo to quickly turn the fortunes of the Growling Tigers.

Just two years ago, UST only had a solitary win during the Season 80 tournament. A year later, UST missed the Final Four boat completely.

Back in November 28, 2018, UP had just ended its 32-year Finals drought at the expense of Adamson at the SMART Araneta Coliseum. On the same day, UST was just beginning its prep for Season 82 in a bare gym in Manila.

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Tiebreaker Times Aldin Ayo tells UST not to celebrate Finals berth: 'Hindi pa tapos' Basketball News UAAP UST  UST Men's Basketball UAAP Season 82 Men's Basketball UAAP Season 82 Aldin Ayo

“Kalaban namin Team B ng NU. When UP advanced to the Finals, tinalo kami ng Team B ng NU e, ‘di nga kasali sa UAAP.

“And sinabi ko sa mga bata na grabe tatrabahuin natin. So nagtrabaho kami na nagtrabaho. Ten of the players spent their Christmas dun sa Sorsogon, walang Christmas break itong mga ‘to. And tuloy-tuloy. Nagta-twice a day kami, lahat ng hirap, ‘yung struggles, ‘yung mga distractions, everything. Kung tinatanong niyo kami kung bakit ganun, well, those are the reasons. Pinaghirapan namin ‘to,” recalled Ayo.

Seeing the work his team put, Ayo did not just expect eight wins in the elimination round from his Growling Tigers, nor a Final Four berth. And for Ayo, it’s definitely not about having another Finals appearance under his belt.

Tiebreaker Times Aldin Ayo tells UST not to celebrate Finals berth: 'Hindi pa tapos' Basketball News UAAP UST  UST Men's Basketball UAAP Season 82 Men's Basketball UAAP Season 82 Aldin Ayo

“Of course, we are grateful that we reached this far, but this is not our main goal. Talking about Finals appearance, well, it’s all about passion, passion sa laro. Walang problema ‘yung magtrabaho na magtrabaho because I love what I’m doing. I always tell my coaching staff, si Coach McJour [Luib], hindi pwede puro passion e. Although nandun ‘yung passion, sabi ko ‘yung mga bagay na mahihirap, kahit walang balik, you just have to keep on working hard,” shared the Letranite.

“If you just put on the work, kahit anong mangyari, at least walang regrets.”

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