Even after a trying season that saw his patience tested, Aldin Ayo is not stopping as he turns the University of Santo Tomas basketball program into the team he envisions it to be.
After the Growling Tigers finished their season with a 5-9 slate – good for sixth place and a win more than their two year total under Boy Sablan – the two-time collegiate champion coach is still immensely proud of UST’s stand in the UAAP Season 81 Men’s Basketball tournament.
“It was a good season I can say for a start,” Ayo expressed.
“Lots of setbacks, lumabas naman yung pine-prepare namin eh.”
Entering the season, UST had a young team – the Growling Tigers had eight rookies and a transferee.
A strong start was dampened by Steve Akomo’s injury, which caused the Cameroonian to play only four games in the season.
Still, the Growling Tigers fought on.
“I’m happy for the rookies and and for the holdovers also. Actually the entire team. Nag-prepare naman kami kaso late na eh, late na kami na buo. Wala, talo talaga – no excuses. Dapat may ma-gain kami dito,” he said.
“Good experience for the rookies and for the whole team.”
But Ayo is not stopping.
Even during the season, he also attended the practices of the program’s Team B team, which is headlined by Soulemane Chabi Yo and Brent Paraiso. But it is not the only team he is overseeing, as he is also helping out with the Tiger Cubs and UST High’s under-15 and under-12 squads.
“Aside from the Team B, nabisita ko na rin yung mga grassroots program namin eh. I attended a practice dun sa fifteen-under namin,” he added.
“Everything is on the right track.”
Teaching young upstarts brought Ayo back to where he started, at the grassroots level.
“Bababa ako sa juniors, ako naman yung magiging consultant. Nami-miss ko kasi magturo dun sa mga twelve-under, fifteen-under,” the native of Sorsogon shared.
“Dun kasi ako galing. Tinuturuan ko yung mga bata.”
Safe to say, it’s one UST under Ayo.
“Yun nga one system ‘to eh, one program.”