By: Graham C. Lim (People's Tonight)
I know him as a man of word of honor, his simple nick name is Dodong, or Juan Aquino Jr., from Cebu City. The first time I met him in 1996 in Cebu when Dodong was then the
Commissioner of the Region VII Referees Commission of the Basketball Association of the Philippines (BAP) on the annual occasion of the National Students Basketball Championship. That was the time our relation nurture as I would consider him my big brother and even like parenthood approached when we met and discuss thing concern to the development of referees uplift in his region.
Most of the time what I learned from him as a person, he is a very patient and sensible gentleman with careful in his wording. He doesn’t make joke or makes any nonsense comment or talk things that will said bad against others for the benefit of him self.
Dodong is married to Merry Aquino and has 4 children (2 boys and 2 girls), the youngest son Bernard Jeffrey past away many years ago, the remaining three are all Doctors in their profession, two daughters, the eldest is Jocelyn and Peluchi is the youngest daughter, both are doctors and is in United States and the only son and second of Dodong four kids is a Doctor known as Reuben R. Aquino, a well known eye specialists in Cebu City.
This writer visited the wake of Dodong last Saturday to pay my last respect to a man I seldom will meet in this very complicated world we live. I met Reuben and talk about his father wishes that he should become a doctor in his profession and Reuben also play basketball at a height of 6 footer but the thing is father never teach him to play basketball or if ever, maybe today he will not be a doctor.
Reuben at 54 years old talks about his father used to be a player in the 50’s, then became coach of the University of San Carlos and later at Southwestern University. Two former players who Dodong teaches and one of them, remember Ramon Fernandez who played for University of San Carlos who became one of the great players ever produce from the southern part of the Philippines, now Councilor Raul “Yayoy” Alcoseba was a product of Dodong in the 70’s and become a successful coaching career under the watch of billionaire businessman Michel Lhuillier.
Reuben, also at younger age play basketball with teammate and now Cebu Councilor Raul “Yayoy” Alcoseba, presently the BAP Regional Director which Dodong was once occupying that position in the BAP.
When Reuben did something wrong in life, the father will talk to him very nicely and never try to raise voices or arms just to straighten him up because that is not the right way to teach younger peoples especially they need good guidance while growing up.
Dodong Aquino become BAP regional director in 1997 and later in 2001 became our Vice President for Visayas, again in 2003, he become our Chairman of the Board where Filomeno “Boy” Codinera take the place of Dodong as VP-Visayas.
A former international referee, Jose “Boy” Murillo remembers Dodong as his personal guidance to become of the best ever produce referee in Cebu City. Dodong’s word of wisdom inspired him to stripe harder but sad to say during that time in the 80’s, the BAP has never send him abroad to officiate in the international event because as what Murillo said to Dodong that Manila office consider only those how are close to the top officials only and unlike today, we have a lot of new international referees and everybody is given a chance to officiate in the international competitions.
Murillo has been a loyal follower of BAP even he was eased out by power grabbing but never changing side because of Dodong virtue of word of honesty and integrity which I followed him most in my younger days.
Dodong was also the Chairman of Cebu Sports Commission in 1997 up to 1999, Dodong retires in 2002 as a public servant and later the BAP National Board elevated him to be the Honorary Chairman of the BAP in 2005 when former Ateneo Hall of Fame great Quinteliano “Tiny” Literal became the new Chairman, while former Senator Joey Lina was elected the new President of the Basketball Association of the Philippines (BAP) by the National Board nominated by legal counsel Bonifacio Alentajan, a close allied of Dodong during early days went he was then Regional Director of Region VII..
With more than 300,000 members all over the Philippines who has sent or pray for your internal soul as our former Chairman, the BAP is mandated to continue its development program left by the man of word – Dodong – a simple guy and simple thought of living,
I will always remember you, my comrade Dodong as everybody simply call you and will always keep in our heart for a gentleman like you who equally treated us with compassion in life and we will never, ever forget a teacher name Dodong as man of compassion in life. Goodbye my Big Brother, Goodbye Comrade.