La Salle coach Aldin Ayo does his homework, keeps close eye on recruit Aljun Melecio
New Green Archers coach Aldin Ayo and his staff watch the Junior Archers play the NU Bullpups in Game One of the UAAP Finals with team patron Danding Cojuangco. Dante Peralta

LA Salle coach Aldin Ayo has been diligently doing his prep work this early as he attended the UAAP Juniors Finals at The Arena in San Juan on Friday, not only in support of the Junior Archers against the NU Bullpups, but also to size up one of his prized recruits, Aljun Melecio.

Ayo, who was tapped as the new Green Archers mentor after steering Letran to a title in NCAA Season 91 last year, witnessed the Junior Archers fall way short against the Bullpups, 58-78, in Game One.

But despite the drubbing, the 38-year-old coach was in high spirits after he came out of a closed-door meeting with the team’s sports patron Danding Cojuangco that lasted almost an hour inside the VIP room following the game.

Ayo bared that he liked the fight he saw in Junior Archer gunner and league MVP Melecio, and he's confident the high school star will fit in his system.

“Magfi-fit (siya) sa amin si Aljun,” said Ayo, who will also coach La Salle Greenhills star Ricci Rivero, former NU standout Mike Dyke and Cameroonian Ben Mbala on the Green Archers lineup next season.

While La Salle is already looking formidable this early, Ayo revealed that he's not letting his guard down in making sure his team is well-prepared. And he admits to some early struggles in building La Salle's new foundation, particularly in adjusting to the team practice's call time.

“Naga-adjust rin (ako) especially ‘yung 5 o’clock in the morning na practice,” he said. “Sa Letran dati 12 noon, pero dito gigising ako ng 3:30 or 4 in the morning para umabot ako sa La Salle ng 5 a.m. (from Cubao).”

“(‘Yun ang pinakamahirap) pero we have to make sacrifices,” he added.

When asked who imposed an early morning training, Ayo put the blame on one person.

“Ako, ako rin (nagsabi na 5 a.m.),” he said, drawing laughs from reporters. “Kasi tingin ko ‘yun ang (mainam), gusto ko kasi mahirap lagi ang start.”

“Bali, three hours (ang practice) ‘di na kami nakaka-extend kasi right away training na ng volleyball,” he added.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @meilinlozada