MPBL Datu Cup: Marlou Aquino towers over younger, faster rivals in breakout game

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BATANGAS CITY — It’s never too late for cage legend Marlou Aquino.

Nearly a decade removed from playing in the big league, the 6-foot-9 cage legend, who came back to competitive basketball, has rediscovered his old, deadly form in helping the Bacoor Strikers to an 86-68 win over the Caloocan Supremos-Longrich.

Aquino played his best game ever in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League as he finished with a career-high 16 points and provided the inside presence the Strikers’ need in posting their second straight win.

The Strikers improved their win-loss record to 3-2 and Aquino, the former PBA Rookie of the Year, who won three PBA championships, felt good in becoming an asset to his team.

“Masarap  pa rin yung pakiramdam na nakakalaro, nakakasabay kahit paano at nakakatulong sa team,” Aquino told FOX Sports Philippines.

“Yan lang naman ang hinihintay natin, kapag napasok, nakapaglaro ng matagal-tagal, bakla sakali may maitutulong.”

Bacoor head coach Budds Reyes added that the plan of inserting Aquino in the starting line up paid dividends for the team and he intends to do it again in the future games. On Thursday night, the 45-year-old cager from Pangasinan played 31 minutes.

“Sa tingin ko ito yung tamang opportunity for Marlou. Kailangan lang pala ilagay mo siya sa starting line up para mas lumutang yung laro niya. We will di it again in the coming games,” added Reyes.

Reyes’ son, Mikee Reyes, played his best game ever in the MPBL Datu Cup, dishing out a triple-double performance of 21 points, a career-tying 15 assists and 10 rebounds.

The younger Reyes felt Aquino didn’t get much respect from his opponents, who were thrash talking the legendary slotman and they paid the price.

“Marlou wanted to start. We always talk. He’s always been my guiding figure,” added the younger Reyes. “Kanina na-challenge talaga siya kasi tina-thrash talk talaga siya ng kalaban. Nakita ko ginanahan siya. You have to respect Marlou.”

Aquino didn’t take it personal and instead, he let his game do the talking.

“Akala siguro nila matanda na ako, pero oo, matanda na naman talaga ako eh,” said Aquino. “Pero readu naman tayo, iba pa rin talaga yung challenge sa actual na laro kaysa sa exhibition lang.”

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