Jack Animam wasn’t with National University when the Lady Bulldogs collected their sixth straight UAAP women’s basketball title at the SM Mall of Asia Arena last November 23.
It was unfortunate for the 6-foot-2 center, but she’d had no choice. Animam had to recuperate from the orbital fracture she suffered during the FIBA Pre-Olympic Qualifying Tournament.
So when she learned that the women’s basketball tilt of the 30th Southeast Asian Games would be held at the MoA Arena, Animam aspired to have her own coronation at the very same venue.
And she could have such should she and Gilas Pilipinas Women snare the gold medal in the biennial meet.
“Sa MOA gaganapin yung SEA Games. Nandito ‘yung collegiate team ko kung saan nag-champion sila without me. Parang gusto ko din ma-emulate ‘yung nagawa nila, sa Gilas Women,” she said.
Animam and the Nationals’ bid for the Philippines’ first SEAG gold in women’s basketball got off to a good start. Thursday afternoon, they came from behind and turned back contenders Indonesia, 63-56.
While wearing a plastic mask, Animam made a huge contribution in the triumph. She finished with 12 rebounds, nine points, four blocks, two steals, and an assist in nearly 28 minutes.
“Gustong-gusto kong mag-gold para sa lahat ng taong sumusuporta sa amin, lalong-lalo na sa hindi nagsawa na si boss Dioceldo Sy at Ever Bilena,” said Animam, who played in the 2017 Games.
“Gustong gusto naming makuha itong SEA Games ngayon.”