Knowing the sacrifices Jack Animam and Kelli Hayes are making for the country, the UAAP has decided to move the Finals date of the UAAP Season 82 Women’s Basketball Finals.
Instead of holding Game One of the championship round on November 16, the league moved it to November 20 to give way to Gilas Pilipinas Women’s campaign in the FIBA Women’s Pre-Olympic Qualifying Tournament in New Zealand. The continental meet takes place from November 14 to 17.
Speaking on behalf of Hayes and Lady Bulldogs head coach Patrick Aquino, the 20-year-old Animam — who is in her final year in National University — expressed her gratitude to the league for approving their request.
“Sobrang grateful ako na pumayag ‘yung UAAP na i-move ‘yung finals date,” said the UAAP Season 81 Finals Most Valuable Player.
“Siyempre last ko na e. Hindi na ako makakabalik kung maka-miss man ako ng game. And first time natin makasama sa Qualifying tournament e. Hindi naman palaging may ganon. Kaya masaya ako na I will be able to play both events. “
Both Animam and Hayes have been playing two fronts for the last two months. First as a student-athlete for NU, then as a soldier to the country. That means that they have to go through two practices every day.
Though fatigued and all, Animam is relishing this opportunity. She sees it as a blessing since she is playing the game that she loves.
“Mahirap, siyempre kalaban mo ‘yung fatigue e. Everyday kami nagtre-training, morning NU and evening Gilas. So we don’t have the luxury to rest for a little longer. Discipline talaga kailangan,” she admitted.
“Pero I can’t complain. I wouldn’t want it to have any other way. I’m just beyond blessed.”
Despite all of this, Animam still has her eyes on the prize.
Animam, together with fellow seniors Monique del Carmen and Rhena Itesi, have a chance to do something that only Ria Nabalan and Jhianne Layug have done — end their UAAP careers unbeaten.
“Though last ko na, malungkot ako siyempre, pero at the same time I have the opportunity to graduate unbeaten. Ito ‘yung isa sa mga pangarap ko, na grumaduate ng walang talo sa UAAP.”
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