LA Salle coach Aldin Ayo believes Letran still has the hardworking identity it carved out when he was at the helm, a quality that will see the Knights contend for a back-to-back championship in the NCAA.
The Archers dispatched the Knights, 78-70, in Ayo’s first game against his former team on Sunday night in the Filoil Flying V Premier Cup, but the La Salle coach remains convinced the Knights still have what it takes to at least reach the semifinals of the country’s oldest collegiate league.
“Pag pumasok sila sa Final Four, kabahan sila sa mga ‘to kasi hindi ito magpapatalo ng ganun-ganun lang kadali,” Ayo said. “Lalaban at lalaban pa rin ang mga ‘to.”
“Siguro, baka makuha ng San Beda…yung first runner-up,” he added, drawing laughter from the press. “Letran ulit yan.”
Ayo, however, pointed out the Knights, who finished the preseason tournament with a 2-5 win-loss record, still have plenty to improve on ahead of their mother league campaign.
“Those guys are really hardworking and smart. Kailangan lang i-maximize kung ano mayroon dun sa mga bata,” he said.
And with the departure of Mark Cruz and Kevin Racal, Ayo believes it’s Ray Nambatac’s time to be the Knights’ full-fledged leader.
“Kay Ray na talaga yung team na yun,” Ayo said. “Nag-mature na yun. Ang kagandahan kay Ray, hindi insecure yung bata. He knows he’s the leader of the team. Makita mo grabe pumasa at grabe mag-depensa.
“Good thing is, all of them respect him,” he added.