They have been happily together for five years now, but volleyball star Myla Pablo and basketball coach Patrick Aquino had to move heaven and earth to be where they are now.
Pablo, 26, and Aquino, 44, first met at National University where she was a volleyball player (from 2012 to 2016) and he was the coach for the women’s basketball team.
Aware of campus rules, the two were discreet with their actions back then. Their May-December love affair did not sit well with everyone around them.
“Syempre nailang din ako [noong una], lalo coach siya, maraming mga taong huhusgahan ka muna tapos iisipin ng mga tao na bakit siya eh ang dami namang ibang lalaki,” said Pablo.
“Ako naman kasi hindi naman ako namimili kasi yung puso mo naman ang titibok, eh pag puso ang titibok wala ka na magagawa, di ba?” she added.
Despite the criticism, the two remained firm in their love and relied more on each other during the difficult times.
Pablo stressed that she and Aquino would always remind themselves that for as long as they’re not hurting anyone, they have nothing to be sorry for.
“Syempre minsan yung mga ibang tao may masasabi na, 'Bakit ganyan ang boyfriend ni My medyo may edad na.' Ako naman hindi ko na lang pinapansin ang mga sinasabi ng mga tao,” she said.
“And sabi ko kay Pat na kung ano ang mga nababasa niya [sa social media] hayaan na lang namin. Kasi kami, masaya kami, wala kaming inaapakang ibang tao,” she added.
After everything they've gone through, Pablo and Aquino are now enjoying their time together. They now know who to listen to and what to ignore.
Their favorite bonding time is dinner, mainly because it’s the time when both are done with what they have to do for the day.
When she’s not a volleyball player, Pablo plays the role of a supportive girlfriend to Aquino, who’s also the assistant coach of Blackwater in the PBA.
Pablo said she couldn’t ask for more.
“Sa amin ni coach Pat, syempre nagkakaintindihan kami kasi alam niya ang sitwasyon ko [as player] and minsan bilang coach naman siya, siya rin nag-aadvice sa akin ng mga dapat kong gawin sa game ko,” she said.