MANILA—The University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers will carry the pain of their UAAP Season 82 defeat, when head coach Aldin Ayo and his crew prepare for next year.
Although he acknowledged that his wards achieved a lot in Season 82, he downplayed opinion that UST overachieved.
"In a way (we overachieved), pero I told the kids na it is more painful to lose in the finals than not making it to the Final Four. I told them that na dumating kami dito, we need to make sure that we are up to it. Mas masakit ito, pero ito 'yung sakit na for sure na matututo kami," Ayo told reporters after an 86-79 loss to the Blue Eagles in Game 2.
Ayo is hoping his remaining players, especially his 9 rookies this year, will use the loss as motivation.
He said that, after a huge Game 1 loss, UST kept Ateneo at bay on Wednesday but there were lapses in their defense in Game 2.
" 'Yung Game 2 naman, there were stretches na I was really disappointed. There were things na hindi namin nagawa especially sa depensa. But I told the boys that I may look like disappointed but actually I was disappointed with myself and sa coaching staff," Ayo said.
"On our part, kung ano yung mga hindi namin nagawa these finals, 'yun 'yung tratrabahuin namin sa off-season."
Like last year, Ayo said he will not be parading too many new faces.
Possibly joining next season's lineup are transferee Christian Manaytay from La Salle, Mapua standout Bryan Samudio, and Paul Manalang from University of the East.
According to Ayo, Manaytay opted to move to España as La Salle welcomed a handful of one-and-done players. Manalang, on the other hand, has served his residency.
"May mga potential pa kaming recruits na hindi sikat, low key pero magfi-fit sa sistema namin. Papagalingin namin sila," Ayo said, adding that his squad will go all the way next year.
"Our mindset is, even if we made it here, madami pa kaming kulang at dapat trabahuin. We'll make sure na 'yung experience namin, matututo kami."
AYO: I WON'T LEAVE UST
Meanwhile, Ayo quashed talk that he wants to leave UST, and if he does change addresses, that's up to the school administration.
" 'Yung sinasabi ko na personal growth kaya ako lumipat ng UST, I was able to achieve that," said Ayo, who has one year left in his contract.
"Ang binitawan ko na commitment kila father, boss Jimi (Lim), boss David (Ong), kay Atty. (Nilo) Divina, at sa mga players, hindi ako aalis sa UST unless UST ang umalis sa akin, unless UST ang umayaw sa akin."
After leading Letran and La Salle to the NCAA and the UAAP titles, Ayo transferred to UST for Season 81 where his team fell short of the final four and settled for sixth place.
"I learned a lot when I transferred to UST, hindi lang sa basketball, pati sa buhay, kung paano kami itrato ng mga pari, ng community, ng students at alumni, first time ko maka-experience ng ganyang kainit na suporta," he added.
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