FOR the first time in eight months, old friends Aldin Ayo and Louie Gonzalez will see each other in person.
Ayo is set to meet Gonzalez and few more familiar faces when University of Sto. Tomas takes on La Salle in the UAAP Season 81 on Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The longtime partners have been together from their days in Kia in the PBA, to winning championships in Letran and La Salle. But in January, Ayo moved from Taft to Espana — taking on the UST job after the exit of Boy Sablan following a horror 1-13 campaign in Season 80, leaving the La Salle head coaching duties to Gonzalez.
They have never seen each other since then.
“Well it’s just a regular game,” Ayo said with a smile while revealing that it will be their first encounter since leaving La Salle.
“First time ko makikita ng personal yun di ko pa nakikita yun. So that will be interesting,” he added.
While Ayo kept his response brief, Gonzalez expressed excitement when talking about his old pal, who he’ll be coaching against for the first time in any competition.
“Happy ako. This is the first time we're gonna play each other since yung nangyari nung January. Ako naman since nangyari ito I know this is just part of our job. Aldin and I are professionals. Tulad ng sinabi ko, along the way we know na mangyayari na maghihiwalay kami,” said Gonzalez.
Gonzalez says he has great respect for his ‘kumpare’ and that their battles are just part of the job.
“I respect Aldin, big respect and alam ko naman na he has the same for me. Iba eh, Magkakilala kami, magkaibigan kami, actually magkumpare kami. All of this, we know, is just part of the job,” said Gonzalez.
“Siguro it just so happened lang na magkabila yung bench namin, pareho kaming nagkocoach na, pero sa akin naman, wala yun.”