MATTHEW Aquino is filled with gratitude for the blessings that has come his way since coming to Japan.
The son of PBA legend Marlou was a surprise call-up to the Japanese national basketball team's 24-man pool for the first window of the 2023 Fiba World Cup Asian qualifiers and the 6-foot-9 center is just honored to get this chance to rub elbows with some of the best players in the Land of the Rising Sun.
"I'm flattered. I'm just very honored just to be here right now," he said after attending the second day of the training camp.
Even Aquino admitted that this invite came out of nowhere, especially with him only playing sparingly in his first season with the Shinshu Brave Warriors.
It doesn't mean, though, that he will be willing to make up the numbers as he looks to maximize this opportunity and continue his learnings in Japan.
"I can't wait to give my best, not just to represnt myself and Japan but my team as well. I'm just very honored and it's a very great blessing for me," he said.
Aquino will be joining Akatsuki Five staples Kosuke Takeuchi of the Utsunomiya Brex and Avi Koki Schafer of SeaHorses Mikawa, as well as Eliet Donley (Osaka Evessa), Kengo Nomoto (Gunma Crane Thunders), and naturalized player Luke Evans of Fighting Eagles Nagoya in the training camp.
New head coach Tom Hovasse will pick his 12-man rosters from that pool when Japan plays China in a two-game series on Nov. 27 and 28 at Xebio Arena in Sendai.
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