ALDIN Ayo and Jamike Jarin exchanged pleasantries in the two NCAA rival champion coaches first meeting in the UAAP.
Ayo’s La Salle got the upper hand over Jarin’s National University, 115-109, in a fast-paced, high-scoring affair in UAAP Season 80 on Saturday, reminiscent of both coaches’ battles in the NCAA in the past.
The last time these two champion coaches met was on a high-profile match, Game 3 of the 2015 NCAA Finals when Ayo’s Letran scored a humongous upset victory over longtime rival San Beda coached by Jarin in overtime to end the school’s decade-long futility.
Ayo was also nostalgic same as fans and scribes who watched the exhilarating battle at the Big Dome.
“We have the same system. We keep on running. Siguro ako kung titignan niyo yung nanonood kanina parang nanonood ng Lawn Tennis, talagang takbuhan,” Ayo said in the post-game interview.
Jarin basically pulled everything out of his bag of tricks to try pull off the upset against Ayo’s heavily favored squad. NU attacked quick with Jordan Bartlett leading the charge, which gave the Bulldogs an 80-69 lead midway through the third quarter.
As soon as Ayo adjusted and La Salle retook momentum, Jarin tried to go tall with Issa Gaye and Matthew Aquino on the court.
The chess match continued for both coaches up until the final moments, with Ayo drawing up some major plays, including the insurance basket where Ricci Rivero connected beautifully with his brother, Prince to give La Salle a 112-107 lead with 25.3 seconds left.
“Coach Jamike is a very good coach. Kanina hindi ko na alam ang ilalabas ko sa bulsa ko e. Lakas mang-goyo e. Yung change up both on offense and defense. He had lots of misdirections. Kung kalaban mo si coach Jamike, talagang pipigain ang utak mo e,” Ayo said.
“You make sure na dapat talagang nageexecute ang mga players. Buti na lang kanina, yung mga plays na tinawag namin, na-execute ng mga players.”
Jarin returned compliment and had a few nice things to say to Ayo.
“Well nakakataba ng puso. He brings out the best in me also,” he said. “It’s always interesting when you coach against La Salle. And Aldin, he’s a really good coach. So like what you’ve said, he brings out the best in his players.”
The new NU coach, however, pointed out that the match shouldn’t be about them but more on the schools that they’re handling and the league that they’re representing.
“Like what I’ve said before, coach Jamike is not bigger than the UAAP. Aldin Ayo is not bigger than the UAAP. We’re not bigger than La Salle, we’re not bigger than NU,” Jarin said.
“We’re just two competitors who bring out the best sa mga players eh. So it’s always gonna be interesting, But it’s not Aldin, its not Jamike—it’s the entire UAAP. Ako personally, I enjoyed the game eh. Just seeing our kids compete with the best college team? It was magnificent. I’m sure everybody enjoyed.”