MARLOU Aquino and Buddy Encarnado have gone full circle.
The PBA legend, former Rookie of the Year and three-time PBA champion, has found himself reunited with Encarnado, his long-time boss.
Aquino and Encarnado will be two of the familiar fixtures of the Bacoor Strikers, the 26th and newest member of the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League.
The 6-foot-9, 45-year-old center will be the Strikers’ eldest statesman and his vast experience will be essential for Bacoor, the second team from the porvince of Cavite, to join the fastest growing regional basketball league in the country.
For Aquino, it feels great to be reunited with Encarnado.
“Nagsimula ako sa kanya, so kung magtatapos ako ng basketball career ko, mas maganda rin kung sa kanya,” Aquino told FOX Sports Philippines in an exclusive interview.
According to Aquino, he had to pass up opportunities of playing for another team and chose without hesitation joining Encarnado in Bacoor.
“Sa totoo lang, ang dmaing kumakausap sa akin,” added Aquino. “Pero hindi ko talaga matatanggihan si Boss Buddy, kasi kabisado ko na kung paano siya magpatakbo ng team. Siya kasi yung detalyado. Ayaw niya yung bara-bara ng klase ng takbo ng team.”
Aquino was a prized big man acquired by Encarnado during the early 1990s. He had a memorable career playing for Sta. Lucia Realty where he played under the well-known team manager and won championships there.
When Sta. Lucia entered the PBA in 1993 and bought the old Great Taste squad of the Gokongweis, Aquino had to wait for the right time before moving up to the pro ranks.
In Year 2000, Encarnado got an opportunity to reunite with his old ward as he traded Jun Limpot to Ginebra to acquire the services of the finesse center from Adamson University.
Their partnership produced two more championships for the squad until the Realtors folded in 2010.
Eight years later, Aquino and Encarnado found themselves reunited and the two vowed to make the partnership work.
“Matagal ko ng player si Marlou, kaya nung nagbubuo ako ng team, kinausap ko kaagad siya,” added Encarnado. “Our relationship is built on trust and tiwala kami sa isa’t-isa.”
Image by Ralph Salcedo