By: Jan Marcus Montevirgen
Mara Aquino experienced an unexpected moment during the fourth day of the MPL Philippines Season 12 playoffs.
Aquino was honored as the Best Filipino Talent for the first time, having served as the league’s voice for the past six seasons. This marked the first time the league allowed a host to be nominated since the award was introduced in Season 7.
Her recent success brought forth a wave of emotions for the uber-energetic Aquino, who hadn’t anticipated her name being called.
“Well, first, I didn’t expect that it could be so thrilling. I was thrilled. Actually, I was surprised because for five seasons, I wasn’t allowed to join,” said Aquino, who had spent years covering the PBA and the Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3 before the pandemic disrupted traditional sports.
“So, I was surprised; I even thought that they included my name just for show. My name wasn’t part of the voting system, and that was okay with me. But now, I can include it on my resume,” she continued.
Finally, the spotlight shone brightly on the ever-jolly Aquino, rather than on the players she was interviewing.
However, the former Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3 host, known for her generosity toward her colleagues and the league’s staff, quickly redirected the attention to Chantelle Hernandez and the rest of the MPL PH’s backend team.
“Chantelle, she’s also the first female [with whom I started] this journey. She’s also my business partner. Every time you achieve something great, I believe you should share it. You should uplift someone with you,” said Aquino, who recently launched the cosmetics startup Morii Face with Chantelle.
“That’s a Morii moment. Morii is about capturing beautiful moments. That’s why I thought of having her receive my award for me. So, that’s a Morii moment; it’s something we would talk about, ‘Hey, do you remember when I won, and you accepted the award for me?‘” she continued with excitement.
In addition to Chantelle and the MPL PH staff, Aquino also acknowledged her hard-working makeup artist and stylist for her significant victory.
“Some people want to take all the credit, like ‘This is all mine, you don’t look good without me,’ and I don’t want to be that person because I want to share with everyone. I believe that if we do good, it will be recognized which team you’re on and what you’re doing,” said Aquino.
Aquino has always aspired to leave a mark in every field she has been in. Now that her legacy in the MPL PH is firmly established, her heart is filled with fulfillment and assurance, knowing that her impact will endure even after her time in the league eventually comes to an end.
“Well, every time I enter something, I always think about what I will leave behind and all. When it’s Season 24 and the people who didn’t watch won’t remember who was there for Season 12,” she expressed.
“So, the fact that now it’s on paper, it makes me feel good, even if I pass away or my time is up. They will always see that I was once the best talent.”