LETRAN coach Aldin Ayo admitted the presence of team benefactor Manny Pacquiao was a major motivation for the team in Game One of the NCAA Season 91 finals.
Wearing a Letran jacket and taking hit seat on the bench, Pacquiao saw the Knights play for the first time since the Filipino boxing superstar became the team’s top backer.
Ayo said Pacquiao’s presence served to fire up the Knights on the way to the Game One win, 94-90.
“I told you before in my first interview regarding Boss Manny. Pangalan pa lang, motivation na,” Ayo said.
“When he entered the dugout, nakita ko ‘yung mukha ng mga bata. They felt elated na nabigyan kami ng ganung presensya,” Ayo added.
The Letran rookie coach said Pacquiao had been wanting to watch the Letran Knights in the venue but his busy schedule prevented it from happening - until Friday.
Fortunately, Pacquiao’s presence came at the right time, at the start of the best-of-three finals series against the five-time champion San Beda.
“Timely na championship, nandito siya. We were motivated and inspired kasi nandoon ‘yung suporta niya,” said Ayo.
To cap the night, Pacquiao treated Letran to a dinner as the Knights are now one win away from ending a 10-year title drought.