Just when Kib Montalbo thought his UAAP Season 81 second round encounter with his former coach Aldin Ayo would be the last time he’d see the bench strategist on the basketball court, then came the 2019 PBA D-League.
On Tuesday afternoon at the newly-built Paco Arena in Manila, Montalbo and Ayo met each other once more. The former’s AMA Online Education Titans were going up against the latter’s University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers.
Montalbo even gave Ayo and his chargers a huge scare down the stretch. The Bacolod native sank back-to-back three-pointers to trim the Growling Tigers’ lead to just a solitary point, 103-104, with 1:33 left to play.
Unfortunately, Montalbo’s efforts weren’t enough, as AMA bowed to UST, 113-108. But that didn’t stop Ayo from admiring him.
“Well, he knew the plays eh. That’s why he was laughing nung tinitignan niya yung mga plays. Sabi ko nga sa kanya, ‘Kib binago na namin yung tawag’. Pero [he still knew it was the] same play,” said Ayo of Montalbo, who had six points.
“Good thing that he played well.”
They may have parted ways, but Ayo said that respect will always be there. They shared two UAAP Finals appearances together, including a championship run in 2016 where they swept the Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles.
Moreover, Montalbo – a two-time UAAP gold medalist – blossomed into one of the best defensive players under Ayo’s watch, as he fit right in the latter’s “Mayhem” defense, thus earning the nickname “Man of Steal”.
“Nandun naman palagi yung respeto eh, because nagkasama kami ng dalawang taon and we had a championship together,” Ayo said.
“I’m proud of him.”