Though she was not able to retain her Most Valuable Player crown, Jack Animam was able to catch a bigger individual trophy.
Irebu eventually won the MVP crown, but it was the Lady Bulldog who won the championship. In the process, she was also able to win the Finals MVP crown with averages of 17.0 points, 15.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 3.0 steals, and 1.5 blocks in the National University’s two-game sweep of the Far Eastern University Lady Tamaraws.
When asked which plum felt better, the 20-year-old had this to say:
“Siyempre, Finals MVP!
“Kasi yung Finals MVP two games lang yun – you really have to give it your all. So, ako, ang saya-saya ko, hindi lang para sa sarili ko kung hindi para sa team din namin,” she admitted.
For her, this was the culmination of their early morning practices, late night studies, and daily grinds.
“From the start, nakita ko kung paano kami nag-struggle. Bawat training gigising kami ng maagang-maaga, puyat din kami dahil may school pa kami. Minsan mawawalan na kami ng motivation dahil basketball na naman,” the 6-foot-2 forward admitted.
“Ayoko na, break muna. Dumating sa akin yung time na yun nung off-season. Nabu-burn out na ako nun at hindi na ako masaya.
“Pero hinanap ko ulit yung reason kung bakit ako nandito ngayon, kung bakit ko pinili maglaro. Nung nakita ko teammates ko, I know kung bakit ako nandito – para sa kanila! Hindi lang [para] manalo, pero to help them grow and become better people on and off the court,” she added.
Entering her final year, Animam has one goal: to end her season like her senior Ria Nabalan – undefeated.
“Oo naman! Sabi ko nga sa sarili ko, hangga’t naglalaro ako sa NU, ayokong makaranas ng talo. So, expect more next season!”