With UAAP finals done, Ateneo's Baldwin and UST's Ayo share mutual respect
Coach Aldin Ayo (L) and Coach Tab Baldwin have met three times in the last four UAAP men's basketball Finals
Philstar.com/Erwin Cagadas

With UAAP finals done, Ateneo's Baldwin and UST's Ayo share mutual respect

Luisa Morales (Philstar.com) - November 21, 2019 - 12:05pm

MANILA, Philippines — There is a lot of premium put on trilogies in the world of sports. Considered as a rubber match between two rivals, a third installment could be seen as way to settle the debate on who is better.

But for Ateneo head coach Tab Baldwin, who took a 2-1 record over UST head coach Aldin Ayo in their three meetings in the UAAP men's basketball finals, his victory only seemed to increase his admiration and respect for his competitor.

"I think that, to be honest, our respect is as coaches for another. What kind of fool would I be if I didn't respect what he puts on the court. It's really outstanding, the way his team plays," Baldwin said after their three-peat title clinching win on Wednesday.

Baldwin first faced Ayo in the Finals in Season 79, when the Ayo-led DLSU Green Archers shot down Baldwin's Blue Eagles in two games. 

A year later, he and Ateneo exacted revenge on Ayo and the Archers to even the slate at 1-1.

This time, with Ayo coaching a different squad in the form of the UST Growling Tigers, once again clashed with Baldwin — with the Ateneo mentor once again coming out on top.

Rather than lording his convincing victory over his rival, Baldwin had nothing but praises for his fellow head coach.

"He comes out to attack... and he makes no concessions to anything we might have achieved coming into the game," Baldwin said.

"He plays each game on his own merit... Again, I would be the most arrogant jerk in the world if I didn't respect what he puts out there on the floor," he added.

Ayo shared the same sentiments, citing Baldwin's presence in the Philippine basketball scene as beneficial to the overall development of the sport.

"Maganda na nandito siya... Foreign players and coaches [in the Philippines], may mga disadvantages pero may advantages also," Ayo said.

Ayo cited two disadvantages to having foreign players and coaches. First, they will take away a spot that could've been filled up by a Filipino player or coach and second, that they may prove to be expensive additions to a team.

But other than that, the two-time collegiate champion coach sees nothing but positives, especially in the case of Baldwin.

"Pare grabe yung benefit na binibigay nila sa Philippine basketball," Ayo expressed.

"For example... kay Coach Tab, meron siyang spot na nakuha na coach but lots of coaches here in the Philippines are learning from him. So for me, mas maganda yun eh," he added.

Personally for Ayo, every time he faces Baldwin in a game, he learns something new.

"Approach sa laro. Then, x's and o's, ang daming matutunan e. Because everytime you compete, makikita mo yung ginagawa niya. And everytime matututo ka," he said.

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