THE Letran gallery was visibly irked by the calls of the referees during the fourth quarter of the team’s playoff game against San Beda for No. 1 in NCAA Season 91, but Knights coach Aldin Ayo was unmoved.
Instead, the Letran coach Aldin Ayo focused on the positives after the 78-83 loss to the Red Lions on Tuesday, saying the Knights' gallant fightback augurs well for the team's stint in the Final Four.
Ayo said a Knights' rally that saw them raze a 15-point deficit to tie the score at 78-all in the final 35 seconds showed the team will be tough to beat in the semifinals, where they will face the winner of the Arellano-Mapua playoff for the No. 3 seeding.
“We did our best pero hindi napunta sa amin. That’s just basketball. I’m proud of my players. Again, hindi sila matatalo ng ganun kadali lang. We are going to always put up a fight," said Letran's first-year coach.
Letran fans were furious at the officiating, especially in the fourth where San Beda's Jeramer Cabanag earned a trip to the free-throw line due to a foul called on Letran, only for replays to show it was actually his teammate Donald Tankoua who got in contact with Cabanag.
Ayo, though, refuses to dwell on the referees' calls after the game.
“Katulad ng lagi kong sinasabi sa inyo, kung mag-comment ako ng hindi maganda, opinion ko ‘yun. Kung magsasabi ako ng maganda, again opinion ko rin ‘yun. But that would be unfair for us. So ganun pa rin,” said Ayo.
Instead, Ayo said simply took advantage of their advantage in size behind slotman Ola Adeogun, who dominated the game with 21 points and nine rebounds.
“Hinanap talaga nila si Ola. Kung titignan natin, may mga instances na libre na ‘yung mga small men nila pero hindi nila tinitira. They go for Ola. High percentage shot ‘yun eh,” said Ayo.