Frustrated Ayo rues ‘horrible’ Archers game vs Falcons

Denison Rey A. Dalupang - Philstar.com
Frustrated Ayo rues âhorribleâ Archers game vs Falcons
De La Salle University Green Archers head coach Aldin Ayo
Philstar.com File Photo
MANILA, Philippines – The De La Salle University are just a couple of wins away from a UAAP crown. But head coach Aldin Ayo couldn't help but vent his frustration over his wards' narrow escape from the Adamson University in Wednesday night's Final Four action.
"Sa totoo lang pare, hindi pa ako nahimasmasan eh," Ayo told reporters during the post-game presser. "Ang sama ng laro namin eh. Coach Glenn (Capacio) was comforting me. Ang sabi ko, 'di ako papayag na ganun-ganun lang ang laro."
The Green Archers, heavy favorites to win the title, won over the league's dark horse, 69-64, in a cardiac manner – far from the dominant fashion they've done in most games of the elimination round.
And having to deal with such a rough patch at this point is what makes Letran's former champion coach riled.
"I don't like the timing. Very unfortunate for us na mangyayari ito sa Final Four pa," Ayo said. "I'm hesitant to congratulate (the boys) because it was a horrible game for us."
The top-seeded Archers, purveyors of the dreaded "mayhem" pressure defense, had to scramble for most of the game's duration to shake off a pesky Falcons side. They were forced to commit 26 turnovers and struggled to share the leather, only drawing three assists from the whole squad. They gave up too many rebounds – most especially during the waning moments of the game – to 
Adamson, which incensed their first-year UAAP coach.
"Tinyaga kami. Inutay-utay kami," Ayo said. "And kami naman, we were complacent even in passing the ball. Kung ano yung mga simpleng pasa, simpleng execution, we did not execute."
"It's very odd kasi ... latter part of the season na. So ang dami pa naming dapat trabahuhin. And kailangan pa namin mag-improve."
And this is something the Green Archers have not prepared for, according to Ayo. He said he has simulated myriad scenarios in practice, which explains why he can't wrap his mind around the idea of his cagers being unable to "put those schemes during the game."
"Bakit pag may camera na, may TV na, may mga crowd na, bakit nagbabago yung galaw ng mga bata? 'Yun ang problema namin. Bakit may mga players na ayaw mamasa pag may TV na, or pag may camera na? 'Yun ang problema namin, pare."
And if his two players didn't shine in that bleak 40 minutes, Ayo noted, the Archers couldn't have pulled through.
"Wala naman ibang sasandalan kungdi si JT (Jeron Teng) and Ben (Mbala). That kind of situation na manggagaling ang bola sa ibabaw, of course you go for your main man, and you go for ... 'yung taong gustong manalo," he said.
UAAP's runaway Most Valuable Player Mbala was hoisting his usual double-double figures (21 points, 16 rebounds). Graduating skipper Teng logged seven turnovers in the first half alone, but he was able to redeem that in the final period, scoring 11 of his 25 points to close out the now Franz Pumaren-mentored Falcons.
"Siguro natalo lang namin (ang Adamson) sa dasal,” Ayo continued. “Siguro we really prayed hard. Kung makikita niyo, ilan 'yung minintis nila? How many chances doon sa closing?"
Adamson, which was regarded as a pushover in the last four years, found a new lease on life when Pumaren, the coach behind De La Salle's six championships, took over late in 2015. The decorated coach said crashing the Final Four party was already a stellar feat, and he simply wanted his boys to have fun. 
And they did indeed, giving the Archers a dose of their own medicine, sticking their full court press to the guts of the league-leading crew early in the opening salvo, and again in the payoff period.
"Malalaki kami, pero 'di kami makapag-box out. Ang daming second chance points. Binigay lang sa amin, pare, pero di naman kinuha. Binigay lang. Hindi namin pinagpursigihan," Ayo said.
This is not the first time the Archers appeared vulnerable. Ateneo de Manila University – which back then was still struggling to hit a groove, stunned La Salle, 83-71, in their second round meeting. A month earlier, Adamson also gave the Taft-based squad quite the scare, being a thorn to their side on their way to their eight straight win.
All of Ayo's incendiary comments, meanwhile, were not rooted on trivial facets of the game. 
"Tingnan mo yung assist-to-turnover ratio. Kailangan namin trabahuhin 'yan," he tersely told the press.
"Coming to Finals gusto kong magising 'yung team namin na we cannot play like this," he explained. "Sabi ko nga sa mga bata, you have to be accountable, and you have to do your part, because ... lahat naman ginagawa lahat eh. 'Yung suporta ng managers, 'yung practice plan nil-lay down 'lahat, yung game plan, nil-lay down lahat. It's just a matter of executing those schemes eh." 
"Ayoko na, baka sabihin ng mga bata na ganitong stage pa nagsasabi ng ganito," he added.
The 39-year-old mentor hopes the long break would be enough for the Archers to regroup.
"Siguro ngayon makakatulong. We have 10 days to prepare," he said. "We'll make sure na – 'yung lapses kanina – ma-resolve namin, masolusyunan namin, and siguraduhin namin na come December 3, magawa namin ang mga dapat naming gawin."

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