19-year-old Matthew Aquino made his debut with the National University Bulldogs despite the UAAP’s ruling that he was ineligible for this season.
The 6’9″ stretch big man was seen warming up two hours prior to the Bulldogs’ tilt against the De La Salle University Green Archers Sunday afternoon. According to the former Adamson Soaring Falcon, he had no idea that he will be used by the Bulldogs during the game.
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“Mixed emotions lang talaga. Ang alam ko di ako makakalaro. Nagulat ako nung binunot ako ni coach Eric [Altamirano],” Aquino shared after the Bulldogs fell to the Green Archers, 66-75. “Unprepared talaga ako. So praise God!”
Moreover, he did not know that a temporary restraining order had been granted by the courts regarding his case that allowed him to play in the game.
“Wala talaga akong alam. Yung management and si dad [Marlou Aquino] lang ang nag-uusap, nag-reready lang talaga ako,” Aquino, who played 14 minutes in the game, remarked about the TRO.
“Management na yun, di ko alam kung paano ako nakalaro.”
Aquino was emotional when he reflected about the time when the UAAP board had ruled that he was ineligible.
“Sobrang depressed ako kasi nalaman ko lang na baka di ako makalaro nung opening. Tapos nung Saturday before the Ateneo game, sinabi na hindi ako makakalaro,” he reflected.
“Depressed talaga ako kasi pinaghandaan ko talaga, nagresidency ako ng one year tapos biglang ganun, di pala ako makakalaro.”
The second-generation center remains hopeful that the decision of the UAAP will be reversed, as he feels that he has accomplished his residency requirements.
“Sana talaga kasi gusto ko matulungan yung team e. Kailangan ko matulungan si Alfred [Aroga],” he closed.
“Sana ma-reverse yung decision nila. Nagulat lang din talaga ako na sabi nila ineligible ako.”.