SEA Games: No more heartbreaks for face of Gilas women

Paul Lintag on Dec 11, 2019 05:16 PM
SEA Games: No more heartbreaks for face of Gilas women
(Photo by Richard Esguerra)

MANILA — For the longest time, Afril Bernardino has been the face and the best player for Perlas Pilipinas and now, Gilas Pilipinas women.

After a long road, where they had multiple near-misses at history, Afril and the Philippine national women’s team finally struck gold in the Southeast Asian Games.

Gilas women saved their best for last Tuesday, running away from Thailand in the second half to score a breakthrough gold medal in the SEA Games.

“Naging part ako ng SEA Games nung 2015 with Coach Pat and ayun, two [SEA Games] na yan, sobrang heartbreaking," Bernardino said.

The Philippines tied for the second best record in the 2017 SEA Games only to miss out on any medal in Kuala Lumpur.

Two years prior, they were one game behind the best record but still ended up with no medal in Singapore.

“Ngayon, this is it na yung time namin to do na, we’ll grab it na talaga,” Bernardino said as they finally take the gold with an undefeated run in Manila, beating all medal winners from 2017.

At just 23 years old, Afril is already battle-test for the national team.

As she and the rest of Gilas women hopefully embark on a golden era, Bernardino is also already paving the way for the future of Philippine women’s basketball.

And that’s a different kind of high compared to winning double SEA Games gold in her home country.

“Sobrang proud din kasi kami yung napili to represent women’s basketball,” she said.

“And ito na siguro yung start na napansin nga yung women’s basketball and sa mga kababaihan na gusto talaga maglaro ng basketball,” Bernardino added.


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