New NU big man coach Patrimonio impressed with Marlou Aquino’s son
National University biggest offseason catch could be someone who just sits at the far end of the team’s bench and won’t even log a single second of playing time.
The Bulldogs bolstered their coaching staff by hiring sought-after PBA legend Alvin Patrimonio as the team’s big man coach last month.
Patrimonio has been appointed to hone the skills of NU’s young big men like Matt Salem and Matthew Aquino.
“I got a call from coach Eric (Altamirano) and boss Manny Sy (team manager). Mr. Hans Sy told me, NU needs a coach for the bigs,” said the 49-year-old Patrimonio, who shares the PBA record with Mon Fernandez as the league’s only four-time winner of the MVP award.
Patrimonio said he started mentoring the players on April 11 and since then, he’s been joining in the team’s practices, giving his new students some pointers and teaching them some of the moves that made him a six-time champion.
He praised Aquino’s attitude towards the game and sees the reedy 6-foot-9 Aquino as a future star in the making.
“He really has a great potential. He works hard and he is willing to learn,” the former Purefoods superstar said of Aquino.
Aquino said he’s honored to have a mentor like Patrimonio.
“It’s a big privilege kasi siyempre yung experience niya sa PBA na tinuturo niya sa amin malaking tulong yon sa bigs namin especially ngayon marami kaming bigs na nawala like sila Troy and Glen,” he said. So yung experience niya malaking tulong talaga sa team lalo na sa mga incoming big men.
Patrimonio shares a lot of connection with NU; his daughters Christine and Clarice play for the school’s women’s tennis team and in some way is also associated with Aquino, whose father former PBA star Marlou is one of his good friends.
“Makinig daw ako sa kanya kasi tropa silang dalawa, best friends sila and matagal din sila nagsama sa PBA. Yung ibang tinuturo nila the same din except, more on outside game si coach Alvin talaga then si Dad [Marlou] tinuturuan niya ako inside game,” the younger Aquino said, sharing his dad’s reaction upon learning Patrimonio’s appointment as big man coach.
Patrimonio watched intently while sitting on a plastic chair he pulled beside the team’s bench. He saw Aquino make a 3-pointer in the first half, pull down some rebounds and block some shots.
Aquino played 21 minutes and finished with three points, seven rebounds and four blocks to help NU hold off College of St. Benilde, 59-54, in the Filoil Preseason Premier Cup.
After the game, he passed by Patrimonio, who was being interviewed by a reporter as he leaned on a wall, and gave him a tap on the back. Patrimonio turned and responded: “Good game.”
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