Salem’s rise making up for Aquino’s absence in NU

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Sep 11, 2016 08:12 PM
Salem’s rise making up for Aquino’s absence in NU
WIN-AND-LOSS. Matt Salem will have to do even more work with the possible loss of fellow transferee big man Matt Aquino.

Matt Aquino, a highly-touted transferee, was expected to shore up the frontline of National University in the UAAP 79 Men’s Basketball Tournament.

Two games into the tournament, however, the former Adamson University big man is yet to log a single second on the court as a Bulldog.

Asked about the matter, NU coach Eric Altamirano told reporters, “No comment. I will just leave it to our management. I just want to focus on basketball and sila na bahala sa management decisions.”

According to reports, Aquino’s eligibility for the season is being questioned after his residency allegedly fell short of what was required.

Altamirano admitted feeling bad for the 19-year-old talent. As he put it, “I just feel bad for him because he is a guy who diligently studies. He just wants to get better as a basketball player.”

He then continued, “Kawawa naman yung bata. (It’s) very unfortunate.”

Aquino’s probable loss puts even more pressure for Alfred Aroga to hold down the fort. As Altamirano put it, “Malaking kawalan, definitely. I’m just happy na nananalo kami kahit wala siya, but down the line, we really need him.

Fortunately for NU, already stepping up is fellow transferee Matt Salem who pumped in all but three of his 12 points in the decisive run that eventually ended up as their second straight win to start the season on Sunday.

The six-foot-three sweet-shooting forward is an ideal partner for Aroga. The even better news is that he’s far from daunted in taking on the added responsibility as he said, “I just do what I know what to do. That’s the only way I can help the team out.”

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