By Jon Carlos RodriguezAfter just two seasons with the De La Salle Green Archers, head coach Aldin Ayo is reportedly moving from Taft to España. Welcome to the Aldin Ayo Saga.
When Ayo took on the high-profile task of coaching the Green Archers in Season 79, he was given a fresh start and a new opportunity. Having just won a championship with the Letran Knights in the NCAA, Ayo wasted no time jumping ship to coach a title-hungry La Salle in the UAAP.
He introduced his brand of fast-paced, frantic basketball to the UAAP, and delivering on the promise of a championship in his first try, in dominating fashion, thanks to the steady leadership of Jeron Teng and the life-changing dunks of Ben Mbala.
But life comes at you fast.
In his second season, Ayo may have suffered from sophomore jinx as his team struggled early on to maintain its championship form. La Salle’s rival, the Ateneo Blue Eagles, looked more poised and polished, and it showed when the two teams battled in the finals, where Ateneo Isaac Go’d La Salle in Game 3.
La Salle’s failure to defend the crown fell heavily on the shoulders of Ayo, who accepted blame for “unresolved issues” that carried over from the team’s championship run the previous year.
After a heartbreaking Game 3 loss, Ayo found himself confronting a different kind of mayhem surrounding his coaching career as well as Mbala’s eligibility in Season 81.
First, Ayo didn’t want to comment on rumors of his possible transfer to UST. Then came a statement from La Salle stressing its support to Ayo. But when Mbala announced that he will leave La Salle to play professionally in Mexico, it was only a matter of time before the other shoe dropped.
Today, Tiebreaker Times broke the news that Ayo reportedly had a change of heart and is indeed leaving La Salle to coach the UST Growling Tigers.
This development, if true, raises more questions than answers, such as: Who will coach La Salle next season? Will it be Richard del Rosario? Will Danding Cojuangco try to change Ayo’s mind? Why is there a need for a tiger emoji and why did Aljun Melecio tweet—then later delete—two of them? Will we ever get to see La Salle’s new 6-foot-8 import Taane Samuel play in the UAAP?
We’re still a long way away from Season 81 and a lot of things could happen. But there’s one constant in all of this: wherever Ayo goes, expect Mayhem to follow.
[Aldin Ayo photo by Josh Albelda of Rappler]