Matt Aquino survives latest cut in Japan basketball training pool

TOKYO, November 24 ------ From 56 players to 28 to now, 20. The training pool for Japan’s national basketball team has been pared down for a third time. Filipino-Japanese player Matthew Aquino has survived the last two cuts since he joined the training pool last November 15.

In the meantime, the 25-year-old son of former PBA star Marlou Aquino said he is striving to give it his best. “Masaya po ako,” he told in an interview Tuesday morning, November 23. “Nakakapagod mga practice and training namin pero happy ako kasi everyday, meron ako bagong natututunan. “Blessed ako to be a part of the training pool. I learn from the more experienced players and our coaches as well.”

The 6-foot-9 Aquino said that aside from himself, there are five other big men left. Aquino has held a Japanese passport since his youth owing to his mother who is half-Japanese and grandmother who is full-blooded Japanese. Whether he makes the final cut or not, Aquino says that the experience and the fact, he will continue to be in the training pool will fast track his development. The pool will be further trimmed down to 12 in a few days’ time as Japan will take on China on Saturday, November 27, in a FIBA World Cup qualifying match at the Xebio Arena Sendai.