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New Converge coach banks on familiarity

Aldin Ayo doesn’t want to waste any time as he wants to lead Converge to a title in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA).

Ayo said his familiarity with most players will serve as the major key to his transition as the FiberXers’ newest head coach going into the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Commissioner’s Cup next month.

After all, he has reunited with his former collegiate cagers in Jeron Teng, Abu Tratter, Kevin Racal and Jeo Ambohot.

“The transition was quite easy because I already knew the players and almost half of them were my previous players,” Ayo said in an interview yesterday.

“I already fought against some of them as well, so I’m familiar with them and I’ve scouted them before. It is very important that I have ideas with these players.”

Known for his “Mayhem,” a scrappy defensive approach in the collegiate ranks, Ayo rose as one of the best collegiate coaches before figuring in a controversy two years ago.

The then Letran College tactician led Racal and the Knights to a Cinderella run to capture the National Collegiate Basketball Association in 2015.

Then, he brought his coaching mastery to De La Salle University in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP), helping Teng and Tratter win the 2016 crown.

Ayo also sent the University of Santo Tomas to a UAAP finals appearance in 2019, just a year before he got involved in the “Sorsogon bubble” controversy that led to his resignation.

There were reports that he was shortlisted to be the next head strategist of San Beda University, but it did not pan out as the Red Lions eventually chose Yuri Escueta as their newest coach.

Although he has an advantage with his new team, Ayo still tempered expectations as he still needs to adjust in a more physical brand of play in the pro ranks.

“It feels good, I’m really excited but I know that there’s a lot of work that needs to be done,” Ayo said.

“It (style) will now be based on how disciplined the players are and what their approach is on offense. This is the pro level and highest level so there’s a lot of adjustments.”

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