A YEAR-LONG layoff obviously has no effect on former Barangay Ginebra guard Jimbo Aquino.
The one-time NCAA Finals MVP from San Sebastian was back to his old, fiery ways as he torched the opposition for 23 points in EA Regen Medicine’s 83-58 rout of Hogs Breath Café in the team’s PBA D-League Foundation Cup debut on Thursday.
The shooting guard from Tarlac was selected No. 8 overall by the Kings during the 2010 rookie draft, but had a largely insignificant three-year pro career spent playing for Ginebra and Barako Bull.
He failed to hook up with any PBA teams shortly after his contract expired and disappeared from the basketball scene. The former Stags star went back to Tarlac and concentrated on a small business and started a family as his wife was pregnant at the time.
But basketball being his first love, he eventually found himself back on the court following EA Regen’s entry in the D-League through team owner Dennis Pineda, Aquino’s longtime patron who was the one who brought him to San Sebastian which he steered to the 2009 NCAA championship.
Aquino, 27, said he’s just happy playing again.
“Happy naman ako na nakapag-laro na ako ulit,” he said. “Thankful ako sa mga teammates ko kasi very supportive sila sa akin, lalo pa na matagal ako di nakapag-laro. Tinutulungan nila ako makapag-catch up (sa laro).”
But more than his explosive debut, Aquino said he was happier to see the team win.
“Happy na ako basta manalo (ang team),” he said. “Yun naman ang importante, yung points ko, madami man o konti, bonus na lang.”