AFRIL Bernardino represented National University one last time after playing for the Lady Bulldogs in the UAAP 3x3 women’s tournament on Sunday.
The three-time UAAP MVP in the 5-on-5 suited up for the Lady Bulldogs for the 3x3 over the weekend. Eligibility rules were relaxed for the showcase tournament as the only requirement to play in the 3x3 is that the student-athlete is enrolled in the school.
Bernardino was thrilled to play for NU, perhaps one final time before she graduates this academic year.
”Happy to be back. Kahit tapos na ako sa UAAP, may chance na makapaglaro pa ako sa 3x3,” said the national team staple.
NU coach Patrick Aquino said he included Bernardino in the Lady Bulldogs line-up for the UAAP 3x3 as she is one of the players being eyed to represent the Philippines in the 2018 Fiba 3x3 World Cup to be held at the Philippine Arena in June, being part of the national 5-on-5 team.
“It’s also a preparation for the World Cup,” said Aquino, who is also the head coach of the national team. “For her kasi, para makundisyon. I think we will be starting practice for the national team this month.”
The 21-year-old Bernardino admitted she was still groping for form when she played in the 3x3 tournament.
“Hiningal ako agad. Pero parati sinasabi sa akin, enjoy muna, wag muna i-feel na hinihingal ka. Mas nakakapagod siya sa 5-on-5 kasi wala siyang pahinga. Mukha ka ng halimaw sa court. Sobrang nakakapagod pero enjoy naman,” said Bernardino.
Bernardino said she is now preparing for graduation before rejoining the national team in the 5-on-5.
“Tapusin ko muna and then, sabay na ako sa pakundisyon sila coach Pat,” Bernardino said.