National University made sure to give Jack Animam her own awarding ceremony on Tuesday evening.
Animam — who played an integral part in the Lady Bulldogs’ unblemished six-year run — received a surprise from the Lady Bulldogs as members of the team brought with them the UAAP championship trophy, her gold medal, and the team’s championship banner to the airport.
“Lagi na lang sila may pasabog. Grabe ‘yung effort nila,” said Animam, who is turning 21 years old tomorrow.
“Para[ng] na rin akong nasa MOA nung day ng championship.”
Part of the celebration committee were fellow senior Monique Del Carmen, Mikka Cacho, Jeueel Bartolo, Mayu Goto, Angel Surada, and Christiana Dimaunahan. The mastermind was Gilas assistant manager Jacob Muñez.
Animam only received clearance to fly back home from New Zealand 10 days after she sustained her injury.
The UAAP Season 80 Most Valuable Player missed the last two games of her collegiate career after suffering a fractured right orbital bone during Gilas Pilipinas Women’s game against South Korea last November 16.
Patrick Aquino and the Lady Bulldogs did not forget their skipper during the Finals, though, bringing a cardboard cutout of Animam during the awarding ceremony last Saturday. Meanwhile, Aquino wore a special shirt that had “Ilan championships ng NU? ANIMam!” printed on it.
“It’s so sad talaga without Jack. Sabi ko lang sa sarili ko at sabi ko lang sa kanila, ‘Let’s not take away what Jack missed,” said Aquino.
“Let’s give this to her.”
The 6-foot-5 center will immediately buckle down to work since she is part of both Gilas Pilipinas Women’s 5-on-5 and 3×3 teams.