IT truly was a sweet birthday for coach Aldin Ayo as a day after turning 42, his Growling Tigers were able to hack out an 84-78 victory over the Fighting Maroons on Wednesday.
And what made it all the more special was the presence of his children.
"I'm just very happy that they're here to support," he said.
The Ayo kids, 10-year-old Miguel and eight-year-old Chelsea, were in the stands cheering as their dad steered UST to solo third spot with its 6-5 card in the UAAP Season 82 men's basketball standings.
It was the second time that coach Aldin's children watched the game this season after last weekend, although UST got the short end of the stick against FEU, 58-72, last Sunday.
"It's special because malalaki na sila eh. Alam na nila yung pakiramdam ng nananalo," he said of his children who made a trip from Sorsogon just to celebrate the occasion.
"They always tell me, 'Daddy, I'm proud of you.' Kumbaga, yung mga sacrifices, may resulta."
And for Ayo, these little things truly help a lot, especially with the stress the ongoing season presents.
"Sa akin naman, it eases the pressure, yung homesickness dahil makakalaro mo yung mga bata. It becomes balanced eh. You work hard, and then pag-uwi mo sasalubungin ka ng mga anak mo. Nagkakaroon ng peace of mind."
Ayo has built this UST program through sacrifice, with everyone from the coaches to the players having no qualms going the extra mile just for the collective success of the team.
But at least for this day, let him eat cake.