IT’S usually unwise to make decisions when one is angry, but La Salle head coach Aldin Ayo admitted that he’s someone who thrives when he’s in a state of rage.
That was most evident in the final moments of La Salle’s 79-76 win over Ateneo on Sunday as the Green Archers made the game winning rally right after Ayo threw fits on the sidelines.
“Actually, personally, anger or hatred, it fuels my adrenaline and it helps me in making right decisions,” Ayo admitted in the post-match press conference.
“I always thrive in anger and hatred. I've always been there. My players can say that.”
In fact, his players responded to his rage.
Down by five with less than three minutes to go, the Green Archers managed to trap Anton Asistio right in the halfcourt line and it looked like the Ateneo point guard travelled as he tried to regain control of the ball.
But with the referees letting the play go on, Matt Nieto was able to regain possession of the ball in what looked like a backcourt violation after the scramble. Instead of the possession heading to La Salle’s way, it resulted to a Vince Tolentino basket to give Ateneo a 76-69 lead with 2:24 left in the game.
A furious Ayo took off his jacket and threw it right in the bench, visibly upset with the non-calls as he called a timeout to try and motivate his players for one last push.
Luckily for the Green Archers, Ayo’s players responded by showing the same type of fire and intensity in the final two minutes by finishing the game with a 10-0 run to hand their rivals their first defeat of the season and assure a Final Four in the UAAP Season 80.
“They executed the game plan. Because we're not going to quit. We're not just going to wait there and allow them to beat us,” Ayo said..
“We're going to do our part, we're going to compete, and we're going to do whatever it takes, just to win. In the right way, of course,” he continued.
Ayo said that it would have been easier for them to just let Ateneo complete the sweep as unlike in the NCAA, the number two seed would still get a twice a beat advantage.
And with Adamson having to play Far Eastern University before having to face La Salle in a stepladder format, that set-up would have definitely favored the defending champions.
But there’s a reason why this is the biggest rivalry in collegiate sports today and it just proves that La Salle’s competitive drive is bigger than small convenience.
“It will be easy for us if we lost because there is going to be a step-ladder and before we play Adamson, they have to play FEU,” Ayo said. “But since it’s La Salle and Ateneo, we’re not going to back down. We’re not going to hold back. We’re just going to compete.