PERHAPS it wasn’t meant to be - for now.
Pat Aquino doesn’t mind being left out in the selection process for the next head coach of National University with the impending appointment of Jamike Jarin as successor to former coach Eric Altamirano.
While no official announcement has been made by the university, Aquino admitted also hearing about Jarin making the big switch as coach of NCAA men’s champion San Beda to calling the shots for the Bulldogs squad, which underachieved in the last UAAP season.
Aquino is not about to make a big deal about the snub.
“Hindi pa siguro time for me,” was his curt reply to SPIN.ph when asked about the matter.
As architect of the NU Lady Bulldogs’ dynastic reign in the UAAP women’s basketball tournament, Aquino was among those mentioned as possible replacement for Altamirano when the former PBA player chose to step down from his post after failing to steer the school to the Final Four last season.
Along with Aquino, also eyed for the job were former NCAA champion coaches Louie Alas and Frankie Lim.
Aquino even got a big-time endorsement from Ever Bilena owner Dioceldo Sy, a close friend of NU big boss Hans Sy and the top corporate backer of the Lady Bulldogs and the Perlas women’s national team.
Unfortunately, the Sampaloc-based school has another person in mind.
No problem for Aquino, also an assistant coach at Blackwater in the PBA, who nonetheless admitted being a men’s head coach in the UAAP is a ‘dream’ of his.
“Kahit sino naman siguro dream yun,” said the former University of the Philippines stalwart, who's very grateful to both Hans Sy and Dioceldo Sy for the break given him as a coach and the all-out support being extended to the Lady Bulldogs and the national team.
Aquino said he’ll have time now to focus on training the Perlas team for upcoming international tournaments next year, including the Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia where the Filipina cagebelles hope to finally win a first ever gold medal.
Of course, there’s also the Lady Bulldogs’ campaign for another remarkable championship sweep after extending their unbeaten run this season to 48 and 0 – easily the longest winning streak in the history of UAAP women’s basketball, which they achieved during Aquino's reign.
“Dito ang focus ko ngayon,” he said.
So perhaps, being the next Bulldogs head coach is not the time yet for Pat Aquino… for now.