AFRIL Bernardino hasn't been at her best this 30th Southeast Asian Games.
The three-time UAAP MVP out of National University surely wants to be her lethal self, but has gotten on a tough shooting slump, shooting 3-of-12 from the field in Gilas Womens' 63-56 win over Indonesia three days back.
But despite those woes, the Philippines believes in its main gunner that no matter how bad she's shooting, the ball always finds her.
That belief is a huge boost for Bernardino for her 18-point, 19-rebound performance for Gilas Women in their huge 81-75 victory over Malaysia on Sunday to remain unbeaten in the SEA Games.
"Kahit anong pangit ng laro ko, they keep pushing me to play more and more. Sobrang tulong din po sa akin ng teammates ko, especially si coach Pat (Aquino)," she said.
That confidence helps not only Bernardino but the rest of the Filipinas as they put themselves in a position to win a historic first gold in the biennial meet.
"Hindi po nila ako sinukuan, so why po na susuko din ako to get the basketball for our defense, to help," she said.
That kind of faith shouldn't really be much of a surprise as Aquino knows all too well what Bernardino brings to the table, that no matter how bad her shooting is, she'll always help the team win.
"Afril here, she's not hitting well, but still she keeps on fighting," said the decorated mentor, noting that will has also rubbed off on the rest of the team.
"I'm just so happy with the girls and sobrang proud ako sa kanilang lahat."
The job isn't done yet, and Gilas Women understands that ahead of their collosal matchup against Thailand, with the winner claiming the gold.
With that, Aquino is just keeping his fingers crossed that destiny finally smiles on the Filipinas.
"This is the third Southeast Asian Games that I've been coaching. Ito yung pinakagusto natin and sana di na natin pakawalan ito," he said. "We will be preparing well. I know Thailand is a tough team to crack. Hopefully we could get something going on Tuesday."