PBA: Ayo vows Converge will play entertaining brand of basketball

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 13 2022 04:38 PM

Coach Aldin Ayo huddles the Converge FiberXers during practice. Handout photo.
Coach Aldin Ayo huddles the Converge FiberXers during practice. Handout photo.

MANILA, Philippines -- The Converge FiberXers intend to live up to the expectations of their management by playing an entertaining style of basketball under the tutelage of new head coach Aldin Ayo. 

Converge team governor Chito Salud said Tuesday that the FiberXers want to attract new fans through their play, a goal that they set when they acquired the Alaska franchise earlier this year. 

"We want to bring an exciting brand of basketball. A brand of basketball that will attract fans not just to the PBA, but to become fans of Converge. So that's what we're looking at this conference," Salud said during a virtual press conference.

"We want to perform better, we want to be competitive, and we want an exciting brand of basketball for our fans," he added.

Ayo, who was appointed as the new Converge coach in August, is taking their management's marching orders to heart. A two-time champion at the collegiate level, Ayo will make his PBA debut in the Commissioner's Cup later this month. 

He has been working with the FiberXers for a little over a month now, and Ayo believes they have the tools to fulfill Salud's mandate.

"Siguro, mas magiging exciting because this is a different level. And we have talented players and these players are really fit in our system," said Ayo, who took collegiate basketball by storm in 2015 when he led an underdog Colegio de San Juan de Letran squad to the NCAA crown.

The next year, he steered De La Salle University to the UAAP championship while making full use of an aggressive, fast-paced system that was branded as "mayhem." 

"I think it will be new sa PBA ngayon, kung paano kami maglalaro. It will be exciting. I mean, it will be entertaining, both on offense and defense," said Ayo. "Especially siguro, one thing na maa-appreciate ng mga fans dito, 'yung passion na ipapakita ng mga players during the game, and also siguro mga coaches and team officials."

"So the team, as a whole, we're going to compete, and I think it will be very entertaining for the fans," he added.

Making Ayo's job a tad easier is the presence of his former collegiate players in Converge. Among the FiberXers are former Letran standout Kevin Racal, and former La Salle stars Jeron Teng and Abu Tratter. Last week, Converge traded for another ex-Green Archer and Ayo disciple, Aljun Melecio.

"These players are already familiar with our system. So, nakakatulong, sobra sa amin," said Ayo, who also noted that they will serve as the leaders of Converge. Teng and Racal, in particular, have been appointed as co-captains. 

"They are helping the young ones on how to adapt to the system, and giving advice to them, and in a way, guiding them also," the coach added.

Salud is confident that Ayo is the right man for the job, that he can have the FiberXers playing an entertaining style while also lifting them to contention. 

Ayo replaced Jeff Cariaso, who was retained as head coach when Converge bought the Alaska franchise. He steered the FiberXers to the playoffs in the Philippine Cup before being let go in between conferences. 

"We just needed somebody, at this time, who can hone these guys, push them to the limit, and be more competitive, day in and day out. So that's the process. That's how we decided on taking on Coach Ayo at this time," said Salud.

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