Matthew Aquino admitted that he had missed home over the last two years.
Despite having a Japanese mother, the son of Marlou Aquino unquestionably considers the Philippines as his home. And even though he’s a full-fledged member of the Akatsuki, he still sees himself as a Filipino.
But last week, home came to him in Shinshu, a rural province in Japan.
The Brave Warriors’ latest signee, RJ Abarrientos, finally arrived.
And Aquino couldn’t help but be grateful.
“Siyempre masaya kasi sa wakas makakapag-Tagalog na rin ako dito sa Nagano,” said the 26-year-old big man out of National University.
“Wala kasi masyadong Pinoy dito sa area namin kaya ayun kahit papano nandito na si RJ – a little piece of home.”
Much is expected from Abarrientos in his first year with Shinshu. During the off-season, the Brave Warriors lost their ace, Yuta Okada, to Kyoto. It’s safe to say that Shinshu expects Abarrientos to bring his 13.6 points, 4.8 assists, and 2.9 rebounds from KBL’s Ulsan Hyundai Mobis to them.
“First of all, it’s a blessing.
“I always thank God for putting me in this position and for giving me this opportunity. I’m really excited to be playing in one of the toughest leagues in Asia,” said RJ, nephew of Johnny Abarrientos.
Shinshu, who finished 10th last season with a 29-30 record, won’t have a problem integrating Abarrientos into the team, as Aquino took it upon himself to help his good pal adjust both on and off the court.
And the two can’t wait to play alongside each other when the season begins next month.
“Can’t wait to play with Kuya Matt and get back to business,” said Abarrientos.
“Normally bawal naman kasi talaga ang dalawang Pinoy sa isang team dito sa B.League kasi one Asian import lang pwede pero ayun blessed na as a local ako dito kaya nagkataon din na nagsama kami,” added Aquino.
“Talagang magandang addition si RJ sa amin.”