MANILA---With the next conference just around the corner, Meralco continues a busy offseason as it brings back veteran big man Marlou Aquino whom they traded midseason of the recently concluded PBA Philippine Cup.
A dominating force in his heyday, Aquino will suit up for the Bolts in the coming Commissioner’s Cup slated February 18 after his plea was granted by the PBA Commissioner’s office.
Aquino’s pending return was a special case due to a rule prohibiting players from going back to their erstwhile team in less than one season.
The former Ginebra star had expressed his intentions of returning to Meralco and since the Bolts also showed interest in his services, Aquino wrote a letter of appeal to suspend the rule.
Coach Ryan Gregorio told Inquirer Sports that the reacquisition is an effort to beef up the Bolts’ frontline, which will need the inside presence of the six-foot-nine Aquino, who still has some playing left in his 38-year-old self.
"We’re bringing him in because if you take a look at our roster, there is a sudden drop in our height," said a pleased Gregorio after his squad’s two-hour practice at the Meralco Gym in Ortigas.
"After Asi (Taulava), all of a sudden we have undersized players playing the four and definitely more undersized at the five", added Gregorio.
“Marlou did a tremendous job when he was with us and I think he can still help.”
Meralco bolstered its line-up in the offseason by obtaining explosive guard Sol Mercado from Rain or Shine in a star-studded three-team shake-up.
Aquino, dubbed as the Skyscraper, was part of the Bolts’ other trade deal that also sent Khazim Mirza and Pong Escobal to Barako Bull in exchange for Reed Juntilla, Mark Isip and a 2012 first round pick.
The 1996 Rookie of the Year was part of Barako Bull’s dispersal draft last February 7 where Meralco actually opted not to pick.