Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Tiebreaker Times
Photo from Shinshu Brave Warriors


How an unexpected call led Matt Aquino from Filbasket to B.League

Matthew Aquino was a sought-after player by Japanese teams. 

Despite putting up pedestrian numbers in both his stay with National University (UAAP) and Bacoor (MPBL), the second generation cager still stood at 6-foot-8.

Besides being a towering figure, Aquino also possesses one thing that none of his peers have – a Japanese passport.

Yes, the son of Marlou is one-fourth Japanese because of the mom of his mother, whose surname is Toma.

“Grandmother ko is Japanese. Then napasa sa mom ko and then sa akin,” shared the 25-year-old, adding that he never used that passport ever but kept on renewing it just for the sake of it.

Aquino did not have enough game footage to send to the B.League teams when his uncle helped him out, though.

Just two months ago, he only had one offer, a short-term deal with Division III squad Tokyo Hachioji Bee Trains.

With no good offers coming, Aquino decided to remain with Sta. Lucia, who will play in upstart amateur league Filbasket. He later planned on entering the 2022 PBA Rookie Draft.

“May kinausap na ko sa Japan before, around August, but wala pa akong agent nun,” he recalled to Tiebreaker Times. “It was a B3 team. ‘Yung tito ko helped me. Pero I decided to stay na lang for Filbasket.”

But then, an unexpected message came.

Better Basketball PH’s Patrick Tancioco suddenly inquired about his status. Aquino and Tancioco had not met before.

“Then around August, nag-reach out sa akin si Coach Patrick (Tancioco) of Better Basketball. Sabi niya, there are teams in Japan looking for a big man.

“He referred me to Sir Tim (Edwards) of Seigle Sports and Entertainment and Sir Rados (Drljevic) of 3&D Basketball who helped me look for a team,” he shared.

#ReadMore  Alyssa Valdez bracing for LDR with Kiefer Ravena

Apparently, it was not just B3 teams that are interested in Aquino. Tops on the list were B1 squads Chiba and Shinshu.

“Oo sobrang surprised. Hindi ko talaga inexpect to. Akala ko after nung una kong kausap, ‘yun na ‘yun,” he said.

“After nun, tinanggap ko na na dito na lang ako sa Pilipinas, laro sa Filbasket, and then enter the PBA Draft.

“Eh biglang dumating ‘yung opportunity na ‘to and madaming teams na kumausap sa akin. Talagang na-overwhelm ako. Pinagdasal ko ito dati and this is an answered prayer. Even family ko, sila Papa nagulat,” he expressed.

At the end of the day, Aquino chose to sign for three years with the Brave Warriors.

He silently flew to Japan two weeks ago and received clearance to join the team last Tuesday.

Aquino, of course, knows that getting signed is just step one. And over the next three years, he vows to prove to Shinshu that they made a worthy investment on him.

“Dun kami nagulat dun sa three-year offer. Right now, the goal is to improve everyday and take it step-by-step. I just want to improve myself and madami pa ako kailangang patunayan, hindi lang sa iba, kung hindi sa sarili ko.”

On top of that, he gets to be in his mom’s home country for the first time in his life.

Written By

Tiebreaker Times Logo

You May Also Like


Shiga’s woes continued Monday evening, absorbing an 82-95 loss at the hands of Shibuya in the 2021-22 B.League season at the Aoyama Gakuin Memorial...


Kiefer Ravena and the rest of the Philippine contingent in the B.League will team up come the 2022 B.League All-Star Game set on January...


Toyama could not overcome Ryukyu to close out their 2021-22 B.League series, falling 69-80, Sunday at Okinawa Arena. The Grouses could not sustain a...


Niigata suffered one of its worst losses in the 2021-22 B.League season, falling 58-89 to Akita, Sunday at City Hall Plaza Aore. Already behind...


The two-week break of the B.League did not do any wonders for Kiefer Ravena and Shiga. Shiga suffered a crushing 75-102 loss to Shibuya...


Ibaraki once again kept pace with defending B.League champion Chiba but it was not enough, absorbing a 103-111 defeat, Sunday at Funabashi Arena. Down...


Ray Parks and Nagoya could not repeat against Shimane, bowing 86-94 in the 2021-22 B.League Division I tournament, Sunday at Dolphin’s Arena. Unlike their...


Shinshu could not solve the puzzle that is Utsunomiya, suffering a 61-83 rout in the 2021-22 B.League Division I tournament, Sunday at White Ring....