Santillan happy to reunite with Ayo at Chooks 3×3 team
MANILA, Philippines—Aldin Ayo got a welcome reunion as his new job as the head coach of the Philippines’ national 3×3 team made him Santi Santillan’s mentor once more.
Santillan, the country’s no. 6 3×3 player, and Ayo enjoyed a fruitful relationship in De La Salle, winning one UAAP title and appearing in two finals series. Now they have reunited help the Philippines reach the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in 3×3.
“We all know what Santi can do,” said Ayo in Filipino. “I’m really happy that I get to be with him again.”
Ayo, whose appointment was announced on Monday, was the one who brought Santillan to the UAAP from Cebu and it was with the Green Archers that the 6-foot-5 big man flourished into a smooth operator under the paint.
Santillan also said he looks forward to working for his college coach at the professional level.
“Of course it’s exciting that he’s my coach again,” said Santillan in Filipino. “I know how he coaches players and he knows how I play.”
Santillan added that he doesn’t doubt Ayo’s capabilities despite this stint being his first in a 3×3 setting.
“Just by his record alone, you can tell how good of a coach he is,” said Santillan. “He brought all his teams to the finals. I know coach Aldin and he can quickly adjust to the 3×3 setup.”
Ayo led Letran to the 2015 title in his lone coaching stint in the NCAA and brought the Green Archers the 2016 UAAP title and 2017 championship round before guiding University of Santo Tomas to the 2019 UAAP finals.
Though he’s got to reunite with Santillan, Ayo is also excited to coach the burly scoring machine Alvin Pasaol, the country’s no.2 3×3 player.
Pasaol was a constant 20-point scorer during his days with University of the East in the UAAP and has had several battles against Ayo’s teams.
Interestingly, Ayo was already trying to recruit Pasaol when he was still in Davao but the two never ended up in the same school in the UAAP.
“I’ve often visited Alvin in Davao, it’s a shame that I wasn’t able to recruit him successfully,” said Ayo.
Pasaol, for his part, is excited that he’ll finally play for Ayo, at the international level no less.
“I’m happy that we got a new head coach. I’m excited because this will be a new learning experience for us,” said Pasaol in Filipino. “We all know that coach Aldin has such a high basketball IQ and has a lot of experience in basketball.”
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