Up-and-coming National U big man Matthew Aquino believes the addition of pro league great Alvin Patrimonio to the Bulldogs’ coaching staff will serve them in good stead as they gear up for the UAAP Season 79 men’s basketball tournament.
The 6-foot-9 Aquino, a blue-chip transferee from Adamson U, is convinced Patrimonio, 49, a four-time pro league MVP, could help speed-up the development of him and his fellow Bulldogs’ big men as they try to fill up the void left by current pro league rookies Troy Rosario and Glenn Khobuntin, key members of NU’s championship winning squad in 2014.
“It’s a big privilege kasi siyempre ‘yung experience niya sa PBA na tinuturo niya sa amin, malaking tulong ‘yun sa bigs namin especially ngayon marami kaming bigs na nawala like sila Troy and Glenn,” said Aquino, son of former pro league star Marlou, the 1996 Rookie of the Year awardee.
In their 59-54 victory over St. Benilde in the 2016 Filoil Flying V Preseason Premier Cup last Wednesday, Aquino made his presence felt, coming through with a game-high four blocks on top of three points and seven rebounds, giving NU the needed inside presence in the absence of Cameroon import Alfred Aroga due to back spasms.
Patrimonio, who watched from the sidelines, was visibly impressed of Aquino’s performance.
Aquino, however, gave ample credit to Patrimonio, saying: “Marami na po akong natutunan sa kanya. ‘Yung face-up game niya ay tinuturo niya sa amin, hindi porket big man ka, hindi ka na dapat marunong mag-dribble. Tinuturuan niya kami magkagalaw na kaya na naming mag-penetrate galing sa labas, hindi na lang kami panay loob.”
“Tinuturo niya rin ‘yung tira sa labas kasi sinasabi niya, mahirap ka i-defend kapag kaya mo sa labas and then may game ka sa loob,” he added.
Aquino also shared that even his dad Marlou also encouraged him to put into his heart the lessons being impart by Patrimonio, who had memorable battles with the elder Aquino during their prime.
“Makinig daw ako sa kanya kasi tropa-tropa silang dalawa. Best friends sila and matagal din sila nagsama sa PBA so ‘yung ibang tinuturo nila the same din except, mas more on outside game si coach Alvin talaga then si Dad tinuturuan niya ako inside game,” said Matthew.
Asked what he wants to imitate from Patrimonio, Aquino said: “Gusto ko ‘yung face up niya sa elbow then dribble to the basket. ‘Yung kaya niya mag-penetrate kahit sino bantay niya.” – By Jerome Lagunzad
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