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I'M SORRY | Apologetic Aquino reflects on first ejection in coaching career

NU head coach Patrick Aquino huddles with his Lady Bulldogs for the final time before walking away at the MOA Arena floor when he was ejected for the very first time of his career.
By Kevin Estrada

PASAY CITY -- Since taking over the then fledgling women's basketball program in 2012, National U head coach Patrick Aquino had kept his cool at all times not to let emotions get the better of him.

With a head that was calm as cucumber during the last three years in which his Lady Bulldogs reign as UAAP cage queens, that all changed Saturday noon.

Despite leading by five with 3:38 to go against Ateneo, Aquino had his rage circuit snapped after he was tossed for the very first time of his career after he was slapped with a quick pair of T's after he felt that his team were not getting the whistles from the referees.

However, he get calmed right after the game, knowing that their championship poise got them through for their eleventh straight win and 59th overall.

Afterwards, Aquino told Dugout Philippines that John Flores' Lady Eagles gave them the best basketball lesson all season long since their opener against UE, after getting used to blow out their opposition by more than 20 points in eight of the last nine games.

"You have to believe in themselves. Probably it's a good way to win," Aquino said after their long but calm post-game talk at their own locker room.

"Having experienced that kind of game: physical and we're not leading by as much as 20 or 30 points. Nakikita mo yung player by the gauge of how they finish the game through that. Good for them to experience this kind of game," Aquino then added, knowing that their final two assignments this season are against UST and UE who shared second spot and are the biggest threat to their unblemished record.

Knowing that he will miss their next game against UP, he quickly and calmly took responsibility of his rage against the referees.

"I'm really sorry for what happened. Probably, there's pressure on my part and it was wrong for me to do that. I'm sorry. But sometimes you got to give your insight on how you see it in your perspective," he said, added that he is confident of his deputies that they will get the job done.

But for now, he now has a reason to get a break from coaching even for just a week, after missing his loved ones when he was away not just for UAAP for the past three years but also for Perlas Pilipinas.

"Actually, I'm going out tomorrow. I'm going on a vacation tomorrow. It's my first break after the long months, from FIBA Asia, to SEABA and to SEA Games and to the UAAP now. Hopefully it's gonna be clearing focus for the coming days," Aquino bared his plans.

Follow him on Twitter: @KevinLEstrada