THE last thing Aldin Ayo and La Salle want to do is allow Adamson to have any form confidence in their UAAP Final Four showdown beginning on Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Ayo needs only to remind his players about Letran's surprise victory over heavy favorite San Beda under his stewardship in last year's NCAA championship series to make them realize that anything can happen in the playoffs.
From leading an underdog in Letran, Ayo is now on the other side as the leader of a twice-to-beat Green Archers side that is not only expected to run over No. 4 seed Adamson but also run away with the championship after a 13-1 stint in the eliminations.
The La Salle coach is also determined not to allow a repeat of a sorry loss to Ateneo in the eliminations, which deprived the Green Archers an outright spot in the finals.
“Being complacent and having lack of effort, hindi na namin concern ‘yun. Alam na namin ang pakiramdam ng matalo. Alam namin na if we don’t exert effort, ganun ang mangyayari,” said Ayo.
That bitter experience should keep the Green Archers on their toes in the match against the Falcons, who, according to head coach Franz Pumaren, are planning to compete in the Final Four with a ‘nothing-to-lose’ mentality.
“Sabi nila, nothing to lose, everything to gain daw sila. Maghahanda kami sa ganung mindset,” Ayo said.
The Green Archers swept the Falcons in their season series during the elimination round, but both games were competitive all the way.
In the first round, La Salle defeated Adamson, 91-75, but the score didn’t reflect the true complexion of the game. The Green Archers eked out an 86-79 win in the second round, thanks to Kib Montalbo's clutch three-pointer in the end game.
That should remind La Salle not to overconfident against Adamson, Ayo said.
“Hindi kami consistent lalo na ‘yung laro namin nung second round. We were leading all the way and all of a sudden, nung latter part of the game, nagkaroon sila ng rally. We had bad decisions but mabuti na lang naka-execute kami,” said Ayo.