During her stellar five years with National University, Jack Animam led the Lady Bulldogs to unprecedented heights.
The native of Bulacan guided the school to five straight UAAP Women’s Basketball crowns while going unbeaten during that span.
Almost two years since last suiting up for NU, the support of school owner Hans Sy for her remains the same. The Sys will be giving whatever the 22-year-old needs in her journey in the States.
“I can say that I am very happy for her. As I have always been telling everyone — even the players, they’ve given their best during their time. This is the only way we can give back to them,” said Sy during a press conference hosted by East West Private.
“I always say also, ‘Once a Bulldog, always a Bulldog.’ So no matter how successful she becomes, she will always be a Bulldog to me. It’s where it all started.”
This is not the first time Sy has supported its former student-athletes abroad.
Back in 2015, the Sys also backed Ray Parks’ foray in the States.
During that time, the two-time UAAP Most Valuable Player in Men’s Basketball went undrafted in the 2015 NBA Draft but was asked to be part of the Dallas Mavericks’ camp. When the Mavs did not sign him, he went to the then-NBA D-League to play for the Texas Legends.
When that did not pan out, SMDC also backed Parks’ team Alab Pilipinas in the ASEAN Basketball League.
Knowing how hard the journey to the NBA and WNBA is, Sy gave some wise words to Animam before she left for the US last week.
“As she wears her t-shirt really well, always told every player to believe in themselves,” said Sy as Animam was wearing a Bulldogs Maniwala shirt. “That is exactly what she is doing. I know, Pat [Aquino] has given me credit but the credit should go to the players themselves. It’s a long struggle to go up there.
“Before she left, I told her that the three most important things in life is to stay focused, stay hungry, and stay humble. I think she is doing what she is doing. I can only wish her all the best and good luck.”
Upon hearing the words of Sy, Animam could not help but feel emotional. The school she considered her home for five years remains her second family up to this day.
“Siyempre, kahit saan ako magpunta, ‘yung natutunan ko at culture na na-instill sa akin, sa loob man ng klase o sa court, ang ine-embody ko. I’m so proud to be a Nationalian. Once a Bulldogs, always a Bulldog,” she said.
“This is also the reason why I am so motivated — it’s because of them. Hindi naman ako makakarating dito kung hindi dahil sa tiwala na binibigay nila sa akin. Alam nila na kaya ko. That’s why I’m standing here, doing my best to make everyone proud.”