MATTHEW Aquino said he was surprised to be fielded by National University in its match against La Salle where he played quality minutes on Sunday in his UAAP Season 79 debut.
The son of former PBA star Marlou Aquino contributed three points and three rebounds in 14 minutes in the Bulldogs' loss to the Green Archers, a week after being declared ineligible by the UAAP board.
Sources said NU was able to secure a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) from the Pasig Regional Trial Court on the UAAP’s decision to declare Aquino ineligible for not completing the one-year residency.
The 6-foot-9 forward insisted he had no idea about the circumstances surrounding his eligibility.
“Tinawag lang ako ni coach Eric (Altamirano). Nag-dress-up lang ako to support the team tapos binunot ako,” he said.
“Wala talaga akong alam,” he added. “Management at si Daddy ang nag-uusap. Ako nagte-training lang talaga ako Hindi ko alam ‘yung problema kung bakit ako dineclare na ineligible.”
Aquino, who suited up for one season with Adamson prior to his transfer to NU, said he was saddened that he was declared ineligible by the UAAP just before the start of Season 79.
“Siyempre sobrang depressed,” Aquino said. “Kasi nalaman ko lang na baka hindi ako makalaro nung UAAP opening. Tapos dineclare na ineligible ako nung Saturday before the Ateneo game. Devastated talaga ako kasi pinaghandaan ko talaga.
"Nag-residency ako ng one year tapos ganun ang mangyayari, hindi pala ako makakalaro.”
Granted a reprieve by the TRO, Aquino admitted he was not satisfied with with his performance but vowed to do his best in performing his role as support to NU’s resident big man Alfred Aroga, even with the uncertainty surrounding his eligibility.
“Kulang pa ‘yun. Hindi lang talaga ako prepared,” Aquino said. “Sana talaga matulungan ko ‘yung team. Kailangan ko matulungan si Alfred."