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Manuel Francisco R. Aquino

GS 1969, HS 1973, AB 1977
Member, NCAA seniors’ volleyball and track & field championship teams, 1975-1976 and 1976-1977 seasons

Manuel AquinoIf you knew Manuel Aquino from grade school, you’d probably still call him “Manny.” If you went to high school or college together, you’d call him “Kokok.” He now goes by the nickname “Ku.”

Despite the many name changes, some things about him remain the same. He remains fit and trim at 160 pounds. He still has a full head of jet black hair, only now it is shoulder length and usually tied back in a pony tail. And he is still and will always be a champion at heart.

This true-blue Atenean was a member of the Ateneo seniors volleyball and track and field teams that won the championship in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) 1975-1976 and 1976-1977 seasons. How did he achieve this feat, you ask?

He recalls: “Looking back at the 1976 and 1977 men’s volleyball championships—the only two that Ateneo ever won—I have always felt that greatness was expected of me, and I knew that I had what it took to be great. Whatever I did, and whomever I allied with, we always thought, acted, and talked like a championship team.”

Even in high school, he was already a member of the varsity team. He belonged to the team that was NCAA juniors volleyball champion in the 1972-1973 season. They also placed third in the 1970-1971 and 1971-1972 seasons.

People who know Ku will tell you that he is extaordinarily dedicated, loyal, driven, and a perfectionist. He’s a leader as well as a team player. Whether it’s on stage doing a play, behind the scenes directing an event, movie or play, or in the war room crunching numbers, Ku is your “go to guy,” someone you can always count on to deliver.

What makes him tick? When asked the proverbial question about who would be favored between two rival teams praying before a game, he answers: “If Ateneans and La Sallians pray before a game and Ateneo wins, it doesn’t mean that God heard our prayers and not theirs, nor does He favor us over them. We win because our will is strong and our faith even stronger.”

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