THE feeling is mutual for Aldin Ayo and former fellow KIA deputy coach Chito Victolero.
The new Converge coach appreciated his Magnolia counterpart’s belief that he should've been in the PBA for a long time now and not just recently when he took over the coaching reins of the FiberXers.
“I appreciate that. I respect him a lot, yung samahan namin,” said Ayo when asked about Victolero’s statement about his long-overdue move to Asia’s pioneering pro league.
“Even now, from time to time, we call each other kasi okay naman yung relationship namin.”
On the court though, winning is imperative and Victolero and the Hotshots were all business in dealing Ayo and his FiberXers their first loss in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup, 109-105.
Converge was in control of the match three-fourths of the way until the final quarter when the Hotshots unleashed their championship pedigdree and outscored their young opponent, 38-21.
Perhaps the time spent together at KIA franchise helped Ayo anticipate some of the moves and adjustments Victolero made during the game.
“I know him (Victolero). I know how he runs his team. I’ve been watching his team and I’m familiar with his system,” said Ayo, who worked as video coordinator of KIA when Victolero was among its deputies.
Not lost on Victolero was the work Ayo has been doing at Converge, which led Magnolia by as much as 14 points (87-73) early in the final quarter.
“Yung kanyang talent, yung kanyang mga ideas, yung pagiging smart niya sa coaching, marami kang matututunan sa kanya,” said the Magnolia mentor.
The two coaches actually kept the line open even after they parted ways and carved their own head-coaching careers – Victolero with the Hotshots and Ayo in the collegiate leagues.
Victolero disclosed he supported and helped Ayo settle down when he first accepted the coaching job at Letran.
“I think on his first two weeks sa Letran tumulong pa ako sa kanya,” said Victolero, who incidentally, played for Letran’s rival Mapua in college. “Pero hindi ko na rin kasi kinaya yung oras.”
Ayo substantiated Victolero’s recollection.
“Even when I was still coach nung sa college, sometimes nag-uusap kami,” he added.
Now both coaches are back in the same league, albeit with separate teams.
“It’s a friendly competition,” stressed Victolero.