PATRICK Aquino might still be busy building his legacy in the Women’s division of the UAAP with National University but that doesn’t mean that he isn’t excited on what’s happening with his alma mater, University of the Philippines.
The multi-titled mentor will be entering the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday not as a coach who changed the landscape of women’s basketball in the league – but as a fan who’s just as excited as every Isko out there when the Fighting Maroons take on the Adamson Falcons for the final championship berth in the men's basketball tournament.
So thrilled to cheer his heart out for the Fighting Maroons, Aquino actually went shopping for a Maroon shirt a day prior to the knock-out match.
“I’m just really happy. I’m really supporting the team tomorrow. On my part I’ve been really active, Sana makuha namin yung game tomorrow,” said Aquino in the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum on Tuesday at Tapa King in Cubao.
While he knows that the Falcons are a dangerous team, Aquino believes that the Fighting Maroons will be coming in as the hungrier team, especially with history within arm’s reach yet again.
“Sila yung mas gutom. I think for the past 21 years na hindi nag fa-Final Four, talgang andun yung gutom," said Aquino, who played for the Fighting Maroons from 1988-1993, where he met current UP head coach Bo Perasol.
The 47-year-old Aquino wasn’t even playing in college when the Fighting Maroons last played in the Finals, and he shared that he’s more than hungry to see them back in it.
“Much more than that, I played for UP before. Yung pagiging excited sa possibility na first time makapasok ulit sa finals iba,” Aquino said.
“The last time I was watching the finals was when Benjie Paras, Ronnie Magsanoc, Eric Altamirano were still playing. Right now you see those people, coaching teams, legends na sa Philippine basketball,” he added.
Whatever happens with the Fighting Maroons, Aquino is already proud to see the program come alive again – especially with several homegrown players from their high school playing a key role in its resurgence.
“Now you see young kids, actually from UPIS pa, so prouder talaga na makita ko sila na marating yan and possible na makakalaro sa finals,” Aquino said.
“Hopefully, wishing na makuha yung championship," he concluded.