Afril Bernardino has accomplished pretty much everything in UAAP Women’s Basketball. The National University Lady Bulldog is a three-time UAAP gold medalist, a multiple-time MVP, and a Mythical Five awardee.
This Season 79 championship, however, was particularly sweet for Bernardino as they clinched it at the expense of the De La Salle University Lady Archers, who had beaten the Lady Bulldogs for the title last Season 76.
“Sobrang saya ko and thankful ako kasi last year ko ngayon and at least nakabawi man lang sa kanila for my seniors dati.
“Sobrang happy ako. Para sa kanila yung game na yun,” commented Bernardino, who averaged 18.8 points, 9.8 rebounds, 5.1 assists, 4.4 steals, and 1.8 blocks in her final year of duty.
Now that her UAAP career is over, Bernardino has promised to finish her college degree in Financial Management at NU while keeping her basketball skills sharp. After that, though, is an ambitious plan to make it in the WNBA.
“Hopefully it pushes through also. Wala pa naman, but you know our boss Herson Sy has been talking with the WNBA people. Magpapadala kami ng tapes or video niya,” shared NU mentor Pat Aquino.
The Season 79 MVP has come a long way from when she first started. That realization isn’t lost on her.
“Yung first kong dream is to play basketball lang. Hindi ko ine-expect na makakarating ako sa ganito,” the 20-year-old said about her dreams.
“Then nung na-share ko na dream ko makapaglaro sana sa WNBA, they asked me if I want daw. Siyempre nag-yes na rin ako. Yun nga bibigyan nila ako ng opportunity.”
For Aquino, Bernardino has a lot to improve before hopefully making it in what is perhaps the biggest basketball league in the world for women.
“She has to improve her dribbling skills, her shooting shooting abilities and build up a little bit more. The way yung attitude, yung heart niya going hard and playing hard, it’s one good advantage already,” explained Aquino.
Philippine women’s basketball needs a star athlete to further its development. Bernardino could be that poster girl if she makes it in the United States of America.