BEFORE basketball fans start making comparisons, Matthew Aquino made it clear ahead of his UAAP debut that he is a far different player from dad.
“Grabe ‘yung ine-expect sa akin. Tinatanong ako kung mas magaling ba ako sa dad ko," the incoming Adamson Falcons rookie said when asked about the huge expectations on his young shoulders that comes with being the son of PBA great Marlou Aquino.
"Pero ako, have fun lang. Laro ko lang ‘yung laro ko,” the young Aquino added.
Marlou Aquino is of course one of the most dominant centers the UAAP and PBA had ever seen, but his 17-year-old son is more of a spot-up big man who, according to Falcons coach Kenneth Duremdes, is more comfortable playing facing the basket and likes to run in the open court.
“Mas mabilis lang ako,” Aquino, at 6-7 the tallest player in Adamson's lineup but still two inches shorter than dad, said when asked to compare his game with his father's.
Duremdes, who played with Marlou at Adamson and in several national teams, agreed.
“He can run faster than his dad,” said Duremdes. “Malayo. Mas mabilis siya.”
Duremdes, however, was also the first to say that the young Aquino is, at this point, no more than a project. He has yet to develop a post game since he is still too lean, the Falcons coach said, while his shotblocking skills still need to be polished.
“He is more of an open court player, spot-up big man,” said Duremdes. “May mga post moves pero ngayon, hindi niya nagagawa dahil payat. When it comes to shotblocking, mahaba siya pero patay nga lang.
"I-dedevelop pa siya.”
But there is no doubt that Matthew is motivated to follow in the footsteps of his father, who spent the best years of his pro career with Barangay Ginebra and Sta. Lucia.
Even before Marlou was named one of the assistant coaches of Adamson, Matthew Aquino said he already intended to play for the Falcons in the UAAP, just like dad.
“Dapat nga isu-surprise ko siya na maglalaro ako sa Adamson. Hindi ko alam na kukunin din siya. Kaya sobrang saya ko, kasama ko pa siya sa Adamson,” said Matthew.
“Sabi lang niya sa akin, have fun. Huwag ako kabahan. Laro lang and have fun,” said Matthew.
When asked if he can do the ‘jolens’ shot that was a Marlou trademark during his playing career, Matthew said that, too, needs a lot of work.
“Pero hindi kasing galing ni Dad," Matthews said laughing. "Sanay na sanay na siya. Ako tsamba tsamba lang.”
Turning serious, Matthew said he knows he still has a long way to go.
“Marami pa akong room for improvement," he said as he looked forward to his rookie season in the college leagues. "Basta ako, focus ko lang is rebounds, blocks, and rebounds.”