Newly-appointed National U big man coach Alvin Patrimonio sees a bright future for promising Bulldogs center Matthew Aquino, convinced he has what it takes to match—or even surpass—the accomplishment of his equally-towering dad Marlou.
“Talagang malaki ‘yung potential nu’ng bata. Masipag at gusto talagang matuto,” said Patrimonio, 49 of Aquino who made his presence felt, notably on the defensive end, during NU’s 59-54 victory over St. Benilde in the 2016 Filoil Flying V Preseason Premier Cup on Wednesday.
A transferee from Adamson, the 6-foot-9 Aquino collected a game-high four blocks on top of seven rebounds, three points and an assist in 21 minutes of play, ably filling up the center position in the absence of Cameroon import Alfred Aroga due to back spasms.
Patrimonio, a four-time MVP in the pro ranks, urged Aquino to make the most of his playing stint in pre-season tourneys to get the needed confidence ahead of the UAAP Season 79 men’s basketball tourney in September.
“Magandang exposure ‘tong Filoil (tourney) sa kanya papunta sa UAAP. Kaya ngayon pa lang, dapat go-hard na siya. Ang dami niyang defensive stops kanina pati rebounds, Inside-outside rin siya,” he said. “More games, more exposure pa.”
Patrimonio had numerous battles with the elder Aquino during the 90s and he feels Matthew has the potential to match the success achieved by Marlou, a three-time pro league champion and the Rookie of the Year awardee in 1996 with crowd favorite Barangay Ginebra.
“‘Yun ang challenge namin sa kanya. As long as masipag lang siya, sumusunod sa coach at ina-apply niya sa game ‘yung mga natututunan niya sa practice, doon siya makaka-gain ng experience,” said Patrimonio.
Since he started to serve the Bulldogs’ in April 11 following his agreement with NU coach Eric Altamirano and team manager Manny Sy, Patrimonio said he’s now seeing the fruits of their collective labor.
“Itinuturo ko lang ‘yung mga situations na pwede nilang gamitin sa game. So far, magaganda ang pinapakita nila sa post (plays). May mga moves silang inilabas ngayon,” he said. – By Jerome Lagunzad
Follow this writer on Twitter: @JLFoxSports