The packed schedule of the UAAP Season 82 basketball tournament is taking its toll – not just on the players – but on coaches as well.
Just ask coach Aldin Ayo of the UST Growling Tigers, who have played all their six games with just two to three days of rest and preparation.
Unlike the past years, Wednesdays for the 2019 season were turned into triple-headers which start as early as 10:30 AM. This change in schedule was enacted by the UAAP due to the upcoming Southeast Asian Games (SEAG), to be staged here in the country from November 30 to December 11.
This, however, shortened the “day off” in between games for all UAAP squads, who now have to cramp recovery, scouting, scrimmages and video review for a maximum of 72 hours.
After an 82-74 victory over the Far Eastern University Tamaraws last September 22, the Tigers finally earned a full five-day break before plunging back to action.
This afternoon inside the Mall of Asia Arena, the España-based dribblers close out their first-round campaign against the De La Salle Green Archers, whom Ayo piloted to a Seniors title in 2016 and a runner-up finish the year after.
During the tradition post-game scrum last Sunday, Ayo shared his views on the compressed UAAP calendar and even suggested an overhaul to the tournament format.
“We need this five-day break. Even the coaching staff, nag-usap na kami. Since ginawa itong FIBA (Basketball World Cup), sana ginawa na lang dalawang bracket itong UAAP para talagang FIBA (kasi) we have to shorten the tournament,” said Ayo, whose wards have posted a 4-2 win-loss card thus far.
“The players, of course they have to recover. Pero yung coaches na (yung laro) two days lang ang pagitan, mamamatay kami e,” Ayo added.
The Tigers are set to face the Gian Nazario and Jermaine Byrd-mentored Archers, who are looking to bounce back from a deflating 72-71 loss inflicted by the UP Fighting Maroons last Wednesday. The embattled Archers, who are off to one of their poorest starts in the Final Four era, tote a 2-4 slate.
Ahead of their 2 PM encounter against the Archers, the black and gold side is expected to be recharged and well-rested as they gun for win number five to keep in step with league leaders Ateneo De Manila and UP.
“Yung five days, talagang sasamantalahin namin ito. Itutulog namin ito. Magpapahinga kami. Yung players, coaches, for one day we will forget basketball first to freshen up,” shared Ayo.