"Nakita ko yung roster nila at in-explain ng coach sa akin na maliit lang ang roster nila. Nakita ko na magfi-fit ako sa system nila, so tinignan ko talaga kung saan ako mabibigyan ng playing time, saan ako gagaling at saan ako ma-dedevelop talaga," Aquino told Radyo5's Power and Play with Noli Eala.
The 6-foot-9 center is set for his debut for the Shinshu Brave Warriors this weekend, a big turn as he was preparing to suit up for the Pasig-Sta. Lucia Realtors in the amateur commercial Filbasket tournament.
"Biglaan lang talaga ito," he said. "Ang pinaghahandaan ko is Filbasket. Itong B.League, di ko inexpect. Ang plano ko lalaro ako sa Filbasket, tapos papadraft na ako sa PBA."
Matthew Aquino was preparing for the amateur commercial Filbasket before getting a spot on a Japan B.League team.
Offers, however, soon came his way, first meeting with third division team Tokyo Hachioji Bee Trains in August before he getting more offers from Japanese clubs.
In the end, Shinshu appealed to him the most.
"First practice ko pa lang sa kanila, na-feel ko na at home na ako," said Aquino, who inked a three-year deal with the Brave Warriors.
It also helps that unlike the other Filipinos there, the 25-year-old banger will play as a local thanks to his Japanese lineage. His grandmother's family is from Kanagawa.
"Hinihintay ko lang yung tamang time at exposure na magawa yung pinagtatrabahuan ko. Ginagawa ko na lang siyang motivation, extra push to work harder every day," he said.
His father Marlou told him to take it one game at a time and focus on his job with Shinshu.
"Wag daw ako ma-pressure," he said. "Ready lang daw ako at enjoyin ko lang dahil hindi laging may gantong opportunity. Ipakita ko lang kung ano ang tinrabaho ko."
The Brave Warriors, holding a 2-4 card, are seeking to snap a four-game losing skid when they visit Osaka Evessa (3-3) at Ookini Arena Maishima.
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