TWO coaches responsible for ending the title droughts of their respective teams share the spotlight when the UAAP-NCAA Press Corps and Smart Sports host the Collegiate Basketball Awards on Jan. 26 at the Saisaki-Kamayan in Greenhills.
Nash Racela and Aldin Ayo will receive the Coach of the Year award after steering their teams to their first collegiate championship since 2005.
Racela was the architect of Far Eastern University’s UAAP championship victory earlier this month when the talent-laden Tamaraws outlasted the University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers in a thrilling finals series.
Two months earlier, Ayo brought Letran back to the Promised Land in his rookie season as the underdog Knights foiled the San Beda Red Lions’ bid for the NCAA’s first six-peat with a dramatic win in the deciding third game.
It will be the first time that Racela and Ayo will receive the awards picked by sports scribes from national dailies and online portals covering the collegiate basketball beat.
Ayo, who will now handle La Salle starting next season’s UAAP campaign, is the fourth rookie mentor to win the award after Ato Agustin in 2009 and Juno Sauler and Boyet Fernandez in 2013.
Other coaches who won the award in the annual event that honors the top achievers of the UAAP and NCAA are Norman Black, Frankie Lim, Eric Altamirano and Louie Alas.
The UAAP-NCAA Press Corps will also name its Smart Player of the Year and Collegiate Mythical Five.