Aquino after finally debuting for NU: ‘Praise God!’

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Sep 18, 2016 06:15 PM
Aquino after finally debuting for NU: ‘Praise God!’
SURPRISE, SURPRISE. Matt Aquino finally played for NU only a week after he was deemed ineligible.

To the surprise of just about everybody, Matt Aquino saw action while clad in blue and gold for the first time on Saturday at the Araneta Coliseum.

This, only a week after he was deemed ineligible to play in the UAAP 79 Men’s Basketball Tournament.

The 19-year-old himself did not hide his surprise as he expressed following his first game for National University, “Mixed emotions lang talaga. Ang alam ko, ‘di ako makakalaro so unprepared talaga ako.”

He then continued, “Nagulat ako nung binunot ako ni coach Eric (Altamirano). So praise God!”

Aquino, a transferee from Adamson University, debuted as a Bulldog at the 1:50 mark of the first quarter. He wound up playing 14.5 minutes and contributed three points and three rebounds.

Details are yet to be divulged regarding the development, but in a story first broken by Tiebreaker Times, the league decision was reversed after NU secured a temporary restraining order effective for 72 hours.

Still, the six-foot-nine center shared that he had no idea he was finally taking the floor as a Bulldog when he woke up today. As he put it, “Nung tinawag lang ako ni coach Eric, dun ko lang nalaman na makakalaro ako.”

According to Aquino, seeing action for the first time has done nothing but help him move on from all the frustrations he felt early in the season. “Sobrang depressed ako nung nalaman kong baka ‘di ako makalaro nung opening tapos nung Saturday, sinabing hindi na ako makakalaro,” he said.

He then continued, “Depressed talaga ako kasi pinaghandaan ko talaga tapos biglang ganun, ‘di pala ako makakalaro.”

However, the Bulldog big man said he did not, and still would not, be out to send a statement of any sort. “Hindi naman ako nagpapakitang gilas. Kailangan ko lang gawin yung role ko sa team,” he said.

Nonetheless, Aquino promised the NU faithful that he can only build on his debut. “Kulang pa (ito). Kayang-kaya ko pa mag-contribute kasi ‘di lang talaga ako prepared,” he said.

He also added, “Nagulat ako, pero marami pa akong mako-contribute.”

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