Aldin Ayo lauds ex-assistant Joph Cleopas for run with Perpetual
NCAA , PBA

Aldin Ayo lauds ex-assistant Joph Cleopas for run with Perpetual

/ 02:39 PM April 05, 2024

Perpetual Help high school basketball coach Joph Cleopas

Perpetual Help high school basketball coach Joph Cleopas, a former deputy of PBA coach Aldin Ayo, during an NCAA game. –HANDOUT PHOTO/DENNIS ABRINA

MANILA, Philippines—Converge coach Aldin Ayo was all smiles when asked about his thoughts on Perpetual Help high school basketball coach Joph Cleopas.

The Junior Altas reached the NCAA Season 99 Finals for the first time in school history under the juniors’ division with the help of Cleopas, one of Ayo’s deputies when he was still the head tactician for the University of Santo Tomas.

Although the Junior Altas came up short against eventual champion Letran in three games, Ayo’s pride for Cleopas remained high with how he managed the high school hoopers of Perpetual Help.

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“I’m proud of him. He has achieved a lot. in his first season, he was able to bring his team to the Finals,” said Ayo with Inquirer Sports.

“Unfortunately… He had to go through us,” he added in jest, referring to his alma mater Letran, which he also steered to an NCAA championship in 2015 as head coach.

Despite the stinging loss, the former La Salle coach remained optimistic about Cleopas’ future in coaching.

According to Ayo, his former assistant coach will “learn a lot” from the loss that brought the Squires their second straight NCAA juniors title.

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“I know that he’s going to learn a lot from that loss. I know he’ll get more motivated because he did not get the championship and hopefully, he continues striving hard and improving as a head coach.”

When Ayo made the move from Taft to España and left the Green Archers to lead the Growling Tigers in 2018, he needed a conditioning coach in his crusade.

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Enter Cleopas, who was with San Beda before making the jump to UST.

But despite being just a strength and conditioning mentor, Ayo said he saw something in Cleopas that made him believe that the future is bright for the 37-year-old shot caller.

“I knew that aside from being a strength and conditioning coach, he could handle a game and a head coach role.”

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“He’s very passionate about basketball and he’s always been a student of the game. His eyes are always open. During our practices, film sessions and games, I think he just watches and absorbs everything he experienced and he applies it on his own team.”

TAGS: aldin ayo, Converge FiberXers, NCAA Season 99, Perpetual Help Altas

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