NOTE: I first made this blog on February 9, 2011.
I am a huge Marlou Aquino fan. While I didn't follow his UAAP career (because he left UST to join Adamson), I am a fan of their 1995 PBL Grand Slam squad. Long before the entry of Eric Menk, I thought Stag Pale Pilsen had the best starting five that isn't the Alaska Milkmen.
Aquino was at the center spot with Reuben Dela Rosa and Paul Raymond Du at the forward positions and Jason Webb and Bal David at the guard spots. Randy Alcantara is the key sixth man with Derrick Bughao, Jorge Gallent, and a young Mark Clemence Telan serving as key players off the bench. Alfrancis Chua led the group to three straight titles.
This is why I was ecstatic with David getting a rookie free agent contract with the Gins... and kind of pissed at the pro careers of Dela Rosa, Du, and Webb.
Pong Escobal was taken by BMEG while Lordy Tugade returned to San Miguel.
And that’s basically it.
So this leaves a bunch of players teamless in the coming second conference. With Smart-Gilas taking over Barako Bull’s slot, a dispersal draft was held to give the Booster players a chance to play in the second conference. As it stands, Barako Bull is dumbfounded on whether or not they will continue their participation in the league. So this means we might have seen the last of Paolo Hubalde, Dennis Daa, Rob Wainwright, Ken Bono, Richard Yee, Jim Viray, Chad Alonzo, Aris Dimaunahan, Big Mac Andaya, Marvin Cruz, Borgie Hermida, Jason Misolas, Jojo Duncil, Khasim Mirza, Vaughn Canta, and Marlou Aquino for this season.
Hell, we could have seen the last of these guys in the PBA.
But hey, did I just include Marlou Aquino?
Yup, with this development, Marlou Aquino is left without a team. After getting released by the Meralco Bolts to Barako Bull in exchange for Mark Isip and Reed Juntilla, The Skyscraper is in dire straits on whether or not he’ll continue his playing career. If you think Olsen Racela’s retirement was less than stellar, maybe we should look at Marlou.
But unlike Olsen, Marlou can still play... if he wants to. In the last conference, Marlou had 4.5 points and 2.8 rebounds in 15 minutes and 12 games for the Bolts. While he remained a threat at the start of the Philippine Cup, he was a forgotten man with the entry of Hans Thiele. Also, he just inked a one-conference deal so giving him up for Isip and Juntilla is smart.
However, I think the need for a 6’9 beanpole that can still play 12 minutes a night and that can grab rebounds and putbacks and can defend and swat shots is still something that various PBA teams want.
Surely, with a mere 6’4 height limit for the Commissioner’s Cup, teams like Powerade, Rain or Shine, BMEG, and Meralco must be in need of his services.
As it stands Aquino, Duncil, Viray, Yee, Wainwright, Misolas, and Canta’s contracts will expire by the end of this month. Hermida will still have a live contract until July 31 alongside Tugade while the rest of the Barakos will have their contracts expire on August 31.
Sure, Barako Bull will shoulder their contracts but I guess only a handful of their players could still score a gig in the D-League and the rest will try to find work as Southeast Asian imports, grass-root cagers, coaching staff members, and civilians.
Hopefully, we can still see these players shine in the PBA.
And hopefully, Marlou can have a great end to a fairly decent PBA career.