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La Salle coach faces axe ahead of Ateneo game


La Salle coach Aldin Ayo is expected to serve a one-game suspension against archrival Ateneo on Sunday after being ejected in his team’s victory over University of the East for attempting to put a pair of eyeglasses on an official in protest over a non-call.

UAAP commissioner Rebo Saguisag has yet to make a formal decision at presstime, but Ayo, barring an appeal from La Salle, won’t be around when the Green Archers take on the Blue Eagles owing to the league’s house rules on ejections.

The Green Archers had to withstand a gallant effort from the underdogs Red Warriors side to come away with an 84-78 victory that moved them a win shy of completing a first round sweep.

But the postgame talk centered on Ayo’s action which came with 1:12 left in the second quarter that caused a mixture of amusement and bewilderment among UAAP fans and observers.

Ayo was incensed when UE’s Will Bartolome was not called for a foul when he bumped La Salle guard Thomas Torres, prompting him to charge referee Eric Viray while carrying the glasses which he took from assistant coach Siot Tanquincen, a champion PBA mentor.

Ayo tried to make Viray wear the spectacles, but the whistleblower was unfazed as if nothing happened before Ayo was nonchalantly pacified by Green Archers rookie Ricci Rivero.

It was not the first time Ayo pulled off such stunt.

As coach of last year’s NCAA champion Letran Knights, Ayo handed a pair of glasses to an official in a game against the San Sebastian Stags, earning him a stern warning from league commissioner Bai Cristobal.

He later served a one-game ban that same season for throwing a monobloc chair against the Lyceum Pirates. But both actions were eventually forgotten when Ayo steered the Knights to the title by ending the five-year title reign of the San Beda Red Lions.

His impressive feat, despite being a relatively unknown when he arrived at Letran, caught the eye of La Salle, which immediately pirated him away in hopes of doing the same thing in Taft.

So far, Ayo is almost halfway from accomplishing the feat as La Salle raced to a 6-0 start behind his trademark pressure defense which he dubbed as “Mayhem”.

Mayhem is perhaps an understatement as the Green Archers beat their opponents with reckless abandon, with Ben Mbala, Jeron Teng and a cast of able role players delivering impressive numbers.