It was hard for Jack Aninam to not be with National University when it won the UAAP Season 82 women’s basketball crown last November 23, no thanks to a orbital bone fracture.
The 6-foot-2 center sustained the injury during the 2019 FIBA Women’s Pre-Olympic Qualifying Tournament in New Zealand, and she admitted she had cried over missing the finals.
“Nung nandoon ako sa New Zealand, sobrang iyak ko nung week na nandoon ako,” Animam bared.
And so she aspired to have her own celebration at the SM Mall of Asia Arena — where the Lady Bulldogs won the title — as part of Gilas Pilipinas Women in the 30th Southeast Asian Games.
“Parang gusto ko din ma-emulate ‘yung nagawa nila without me sa Gilas Womens,” Animam said last December 5, after the Filipina dribblers’ successful tournament debut versus Malaysia.
On Tuesday evening, the 21-year-old witnessed her dream turn into reality as history unfolded.
Animam, who had just won the first-ever SEA Games 3×3 basketball gold last week, and her fellow flagbearers obliterated perennial contenders Thailand by 20 big points, 91-71, to win the Philippines’ first-ever gold medal in SEA Games’ women basketball.
“Nagdadasal lang ako. Sabi ko kay God, baka may plano Ka sa akin kaya ganito ‘yung nangyari. And ito na nga ‘yun. Sobrang sarap,” said Animam, who had a game-high 21 points in the win.
“Finally, makakapag-celebrate na ako.”