The student bested his mentor last Sunday when promising coach Aldin Ayo helped powerhouse La Salle overcome veteran tactician Eric Altamirano and NU in the UAAP Season 79 men’s basketball tournament at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
While he was thrilled to help the Green Archers win their fourth straight, Ayo took precious time to pay tribute to Altamirano, who discovered his coaching potential and influenced him to try his luck in the Big City through the National Basketball Training Center program.
Altamirano has been the main man behind NBTC’s nationwide cage program for promising players and coaches, with Alaska mentor Alex Compton serving as the national training director.
“He and coach Alex should be proud because they all started this,” admitted Ayo, arguably one of the country’s top collegiate mentors today.
“Kung hindi nila ako dinala dito sa Manila tapos hindi ko naman nakita kung paano magko-coach dito, hindi ako makakapag-isip na pumunta dito.”
Ayo personally funded a cage program in his hometown Sorsogon before plying his trade in Manila where he was hired as an assistant coach by Kia in the pro ranks and eventually handled his alma mater, Letran, which he helped return to the throne in the NCAA men’s cage wars last year.
Altamirano admitted he immediately saw a bright future for Ayo when they crossed paths in an NBTC event.
“Makikita mo talaga ‘yung dedication niya as a coach and also as a person who loves to develop a player sa grassroots level,” he said, adding he’s pleased to see Ayo continue to realize his full potential.
“I’m glad he became a successful coach. One of our top coaches sa college. I’m very happy for him. I’m flattered sa complement. He’s also a good person and kami ni coach Alex we really put a lot of emphasis sa character ng tao.”
Ayo continued to express his respect to his coaching influence. “I’m grateful to Coach Eric, Ma’am Marissa (Altamirano’s wife), and coach Alex sa NBTC program nila kasi binibigyan nila ng chance ang mga coaches from the provinces na pumunta dito,” he concluded. — By Jerome Lagunzad