Gilas women Bernardino, Animam reflect on impact of coach Pat Aquino
Gilas women mainstays Afril Bernardino (L) and Jack Danielle Animam (R) reflected on the impact of Coach Pat Aquino
Gilas women Bernardino, Animam reflect on impact of coach Pat Aquino
Luisa Morales ( - July 19, 2020 - 10:46am

MANILA, Philippines — Former NU Lady Bulldogs and now Gilas Pilipinas women mainstays Afril Bernardino and Jack Danielle Animam have had a lot of success in their basketball careers.

But behind all of that glory stands the mentor and architect of their winning streaks and history making — esteemed women's coach Pat Aquino.

However, for both Bernardino and Animam, Aquino's impact in their lives was more than just being their basketball tactician.

Playing under his tutelage in both their collegiate and national careers, the two cagebelles saw Aquino as more than just a coach.

"Malaki yung natulong niya sa amin to motive ourselves... kung paano siya magsalita, kung paano siya mag-open up sa amin," Bernardino said during the recent episode of Tiebreaker Vods' So She Did.

"Hindi lang niya kami tinitignan as players niya, more on family na rin kasi syempre kapag nakita niya na wala ka sa mood or pangit nilalaro mo, kakausapin ka niya," she added.

Aquino has long been the key to the NU Lady Bulldogs' dominant run in the UAAP women's basketball tournament, going undefeated in six seasons and having six straight titles to his name.

He also led the Gilas Pilipinas women's squad to their first-ever Southeast Asian Games gold medal last December.

But his mentorship didn't stop there, at least for Taiwan-bound Animam.

"Coach Pat really is a big influence for me, not just a player but also as a person," Animam said.

"Yeah, he may be tough on us on the court... Pero outside, icocomfort ka niya, ipapaliwanag niya sayo bakit ganon, ano yung nagawa mong mali na hindi mo dapat nagawa," she added.

Under the watchful eye of Aquino, women's basketball has been on a slow and steady rise in the country.

With proper support from federations in the country, Gilas women may not be far off from the dominance their male counterparts enjoy within the region.

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