Aquinos blaze MPBL trail as Bacoor holds off Rizal
When he hangs his jersey—for good, this time—Marlou Aquino can look back at a stellar career, one filled with championships and individual awards.
But none of that, he said, would compare to the joy he felt on Tuesday night at Ynares Sports Arena.
With more than three minutes remaining and the Bacoor Strikers comfortably ahead against the Rizal Golden Coolers, 81-65, the 6-foot-9 Aquino, 46, stepped on to the court to join son, Matthew, as they became the first father and son tandem to play together in the MPBL.
It was a moment to savor for father and son, who had seen their bond grow stronger in recent months when Matt finally signed for Bacoor after finishing his stint with National U in the UAAP.
“I’m just really happy right now,” said Matt, 22, who finished with 11 points and nine rebounds to lead the Strikers to an 87-84 Lakan Cup victory at Ynares Sports Arena.
“I just want to praise God that He gave Papa the strength to still be playing at this level and we were able to play together. It’s really a dream come true.”
Bacoor coach Chris Gavina gave 6-foot-7 Matt a rare start at center and the younger Aquino delivered, scoring from inside and coming up with a couple of blocks in the first period.
With every big play, Marlou flashed a smile and kept high-fiving teammates, beaming with pride.
“Marlou and Matt have come a long way,” said Gavina, whose team improved to 7-2 for second spot in the South division.
“Marlou has spent a lot of time with Matt’s development. I really feel Matt is one of those hidden gems right now and we’re trying to develop him and bring out his game. He’s been putting in the work.”
Matt admits being a late-bloomer in basketball as his father only exposed him to competitive play when Aquino was hired as one of the coaches at Adamson a few years ago.
“We were used to playing on the court outside the house, that’s why I was really shocked at the level of play when I reached college,” Matt said.
The older Aquino said the opportunity to play with Matt was one of the biggest reasons why he has continued his career that started in 1996 when he was picked first overall by Ginebra.
Father and son nearly combined for a bucket later on when Marlou found Matt cutting down the lane, but the younger Aquino was fouled and missed the layup.
“That would have been an assist for me that’s why he’s going to hear something from me when we get home,” Marlou joked.
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