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Aldin Ayo not regretting decision to bench Quincy Miller in Converge-NorthPort game

Aldin Ayo is standing by his decision last month to bench Quincy Miller in a crucial game that could have shaken up Converge's playoff fate. PBA Images
By Ivan Saldajeno

PASIG—Nearly a month after his controversial decision, coach Aldin Ayo still stood by his move to give Quincy Miller a DNP in Converge's Nov. 20 game against NorthPort in the PBA Commissioner's Cup.

A win would have sealed a once-to-win advantage for the FiberXers in the quarterfinals, which would have meant an easier path to at least the semifinals.

Instead, an all-Filipino Converge squad fell prey to NorthPort, 97-112, behind William Navarro's career-high and solid games from Robert Bolick and Prince Ibeh, who easily had a block party with no Miller to match him up.

The Gilas Pilipinas naturalized player prospect was benched in the said game as a disciplinary action for showing up late in practice.

The loss sparked a four-game slide that put an end to the FiberXers' dream run in the mid-season conference highlighted by a seven-game winning streak, which was actually snapped against the Batang Pier.

"Even the management, Boss Dennis and Ma'am Grace [Uy] supported that kasi yun and gusto naming i-instill na culture dito sa team," Ayo said on Saturday night after they suffered the tail end of their conference-ending skid, a 107-120 loss to the San Miguel Beermen in Game 2 of their quarterfinal series at the PhilSports Arena here.

He even praised NorthPort, which eventually booked its place in the quarterfinals only to fall to Ginebra also by a 2-0 sweep, for preparing hard against them in that crucial match.

"The very reason kung bakit nag-compete is nag-prepare eh. If you take away that, paano ka makaka-compete?" Ayo continued. "Bakit nila minamaliit ang NorthPort? Ang lakas-lakas nun."

He added that even if Miller played in that game, there was no guarantee Converge would manhandle NorthPort.

"Even if kung naglaro doon si Q, hindi sure na mananalo kami. Wala kang kailangang maliitin na team dito sa PBA. Lahat malalakas," Ayo added 

He even said that the signs of the collapse were already there during the winning streak and that they only began to be exploited during the loss to the Batang Pier.

"Consistent naman na kahit nananalo kami, pababa kami nang pababa," Ayo continued.

He then said that the discipline is needed especially that the FiberXers boast a young core led by Jeron Teng and upstarts RK Ilagan and Justine Arana.

"Crucial yun especially if you're coaching a young team. These players are standout players noong nandoon sila sa college, pero they came from different systems na may mga kulang. Yun ang kailangan naming turuan para mapunuan yun. Pag nagpra-practice, kailangan naming trabahuin yung mga kulang," Ayo further said.

According to him, the team will take a week off but will quickly swing back to action right after as they begin their buildup for the Governors' Cup early next year.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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