Aldin Ayo takes blame for UST game 1 loss: ‘We weren’t able to prepare them well’
MANILA, Philippines—University of Santo Tomas came into Game 1 of the UAAP Season 82 men’s basketball finals looking nearly invincible, carrying a four-game winning streak including three knockout matches.
What the Growling Tigers faced, however, was an indestructible Ateneo side that swept the eliminations and added to it a 91-77 beating of UST in the first game of the title round.
UST head coach Aldin Ayo took blame for UST’s sorry loss against the defending champion, saying it’s on him and his coaching staff, not the players.
“We played bad, really bad. We were not executing and some players did not play their usual game,” said Ayo Saturday at Smart Araneta Coliseum. “But I think the problem is the coaching staff.”
“We were not able to prepare them well. There were situations that we didn’t go through in practice so on our part we just want to be patient.”
This was UST’s first game in the finals since losing to Far Eastern University in 2015 and Ayo said that he doesn’t blame the players for cracking under the pressure of the championship round.
Forwards Zachy Huang and Enrique Caunan were the only members of the 2015 team that faced the Tamaraws for the title but the bulk of the core are largely rookies, sophomores, and transferees.
“The finals have a different atmosphere but as I told you we have to be patient,” said Ayo who holds one title apiece in the UAAP and the NCAA as a coach. “Whatever it is, you can’t blame the players.”
“It’s the coaching staff’s job to simulate things to the best of our abilities and we’re going to do that.”
UST, which led the league in three-pointers made with 151, was its usual gun-slinging self during the game hitting 14-of-41 from beyond the arc but what the Growling Tigers failed to do was defend the Blue Eagles properly.
Ateneo, which averaged 38.9 points in the paint in the eliminations, feasted under the basket with 58 points and shot the ball at an overall clip of 52.1 percent or 38-of-73.
Ayo said that even though his team is 3-0 in elimination games during the stepladder, Game 2 would be a largely different matchup.
“It won’t matter because it depends who our opponent is,” said Ayo. “You cannot compare other elimination games because it’s different.”
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