UAAP: Ayo optimistic of La Salle’s chances in Game 1 of finals

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Taft versus Katipunan.

It is eight years in the making, La Salle and Ateneo will square off in the biggest stage of collegiate basketball.

The most popular rivalry in Philippine sports will add another chapter when UAAP Season 79’s finale starts.

DLSU Green Archers head coach Aldin Ayo, who was disappointed with his team’s Final Four performance, bared that they have spent their break productively and the whole squad is in high spirits entering the championship.

"Our past practices have been difficult and the guys have responded so well. I'm optimistic for Game 1," Ayo said in an exclusive interview on CNN Philippines.

The 39-year-old Ayo said that he would be delighted to face Ateneo because everybody really wanted to see them face one another in the finals.

"I'm happy. Everyone wanted the La Salle-Ateneo matchup to happen," he said.

The Blue Eagles survived a thrilling overtime finish against the FEU Tamaraws on Wednesday to snag the last championship berth.

It's becoming a trend for Ayo to lead his team to the finals in his rookie year, he previously led the Letran Knights to the finals last season en route to their 17th NCAA title.

Read: Netizens react to La Salle-Ateneo finals showdown

For him, he understands the weight of the storied rivalry between La Salle and Ateneo.

"I'm in the middle of something big,"Ayo said.

Related: La Salle squeezes past Adamson to book finals berth

Game 1 of the UAAP Season 79 Finals is on December 3 (Saturday) at the Mall of Asia Arena.