Animam, Bernardino grateful for coach Pat Aquino’s influence
MANILA, Philippines — Behind every successful athlete is a great coach.
And for Philippine basketball standouts Jack Animam and Afril Bernardino, it’s Gilas Pilipinas Women head coach Pat Aquino, who played significant role in their careers on and off the court.
“He really helped us in a big way in motivating ourselves with the way he speaks and opens up to us. He doesn’t look at us as just her players but more of a family as well,” said Bernardino in Filipino during last Sunday’s So She Did! podcast.
“If he sees that we’re not in a good mood or we had a bad game, he will talk to us and he will calm us down. He wants us to be open to him about our problems.”
“Coach Pat has been more of a brother to us and inside the court, he is really focused on teaching us so we really learn something with what he tells us.”
Animam said she owes much of what she’s learned in basketball to Aquino, whose experience has been invaluable to his players’ growth.
“Coach Pat really is a big influence for me, not just as a player but also as a person. He may be tough on us on the court, he yells at us, but that’s just on the court,” said Animam, who is bound for Taiwan as a foreign student-athlete at Shih Hsin University, in Filipino.
“Outside, he will comfort you and make you understand the things you did wrong. He shares his experience and from there, we really gain a lot of learnings.”
Aquino was also Animam and Bernardino’s mentor at National University in college. Together, the three and the rest of the formidable Lady Bulldogs built a dynasty in the UAAP, winning one championship after another.
And just seven months ago, Aquino also guided the Philippines to its first-ever gold medal in women’s 5-on-5 and 3-on-3 basketball in the 30th Southeast Asian Games in Manila with Animam and Bernardino also at the forefront of both campaigns.