LETRAN coach Aldin Ayo doesn't do things the conventional way. That has worked so far in his first NCAA game with the Knights.
Applying pressure defense almost the entire match, the Knights romped off to an 82-53 win over College of Saint Benilde to give Ayo his first win as a full-pledged head coach in the country's oldest collegiate league.
The helter-skelter defense that Ayo espouses apparently worked wonders for Letran as the Intramuros-based school had 13 steals while forcing 33 Blazers turnovers in the process.
“Gusto namin ng magulo,” said Ayo when asked about his coaching approach. “Ayaw namin na nakaka-set, ayaw namin ng conventional basketball. Every time na nakakakuha sila ng bola, gusto namin ng magulo.”
Even on offense, the Knights, Ayo said, also intend to confuse the defense of the opposition with their running game.
“Kahit sa opensa namin, gusto namin magulo ang depensa nila. Kailangan naming tumakbo ng tumakbo,” said Ayo, one of the deputy coaches of boxing great Manny Pacquiao at KIA Carnival.
So far, players have welcomed Ayo’s unique approach.
“Every day na namin ‘to ginagawa,” said Kier Quinto. “Pagdating sa court, mas kumpiyansa kami. Siguro ito ‘yung tamang paraan.”
Ayo admitted it took time to develop the team’s defense during the preseason as he inherited the coaching job of the team just a few months ago from Caloy Garcia.
“Kung mapapansin niyo sa first few games, hindi ganun kahigpit (ang depensa) kasi pinag-aaralan pa namin buong summer. Hopefully, as the NCAA progresses, hihigpit pa lalo ang depensa namin,” said Ayo.
The Knights go for a 2-0 slate on Friday against Jose Rizal University, one of the top contenders this season which also won its opening-day assignment against last year’s runner-up Arellano.
Ayo said the Knights plan to do the same thing against the Heavy Bombers.
“They are a well-structured team. Gusto namin magulo,” said Ayo.