The shifty shooting guard tallied his first triple-double in the league on Wednesday, doing just enough with 10 points, 10 rebounds, and 11 assists in just over 21 minutes of playing time.
More importantly, his Knights advanced to the National Finals after dumping the five-man Makati squad in Game 3 of the North Finals, 131-54, at the Subic Bay Gymnasium here.
Ayonayon was not aware that he was nearing a triple-double when he got subbed out at the start of the payoff period. By that time, he has already produced eight points, eight rebounds, and eight assists.
However, the league’s statisticians informed him that he was oh-so-close to notching his first-ever triple-double. He re-entered the game with 7:15 left.
“Nasabihan ako ng mga nag-stastats kaya binalik ako nila coach, na ipag-triple double ako,” the 29-year-old said in jest.
And in just two minutes and 47 seconds, the third overall pick of the 2019 PBA draft collected two markers, two boards, and three dimes to achieve the feat.
Already in the PBA, Ayonayon still held on to his commitment to the Knights, joining his team in their quest for back-to-back championships.
But for Ayonayon, he is just simply giving back to the team’s support to him.
“Yung San Juan mahalaga sa akin. Kung hindi rin naman dahil sa San Juan hindi rin ako makikilala ‘di ba? Give and take lang,” said Ayonayon, who was also awarded the Manok ng Bayan and Sportsmanship post-game awards as well.
With the MPBL Datu Cup Finals MVP in tow, head coach Randy Alcantara is just delighted to have him back for one last dance.
After all, Ayonayon is one of the key pieces of the team, having started in 35 of the 37 games played by the Knights this season with averages of 12.0 points, 4.6 boards, 3.8 dimes, and 1.4 steals.
“Pasalamat kami na binibigay pa rin ni Mike yung best niya at talagang nagpakita siya ng maturity at leadership ngayon. Siyempre, iba na yung level na nilalaro niya eh,” said Alcantara.
“Alam namin malaking tulong siya sa campaign namin sa Finals.”
San Juan is currently waiting for the league’s decision on the South Finals decider between Davao Occidental and Basilan.
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