In US, Jack Animam staying ready for any opportunity

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 23 2021 03:33 PM

In US, Jack Animam staying ready for any opportunity 1
Jack Animam is a mainstay of the Gilas Pilipinas women's basketball team. FIBA.basketball

MANILA, Philippines -- Jack Animam is focusing on making improvements daily as she waits for an opportunity while training in the United States.

Animam, who won five UAAP championships with National University, moved to Ohio just last week after signing with East West Private, the same agency that handles the careers of Kobe Paras and Kai Sotto. Since then, she has been training with coach Dante Harlan.

"At first it was, I was feeling a little heavy, because after a month in the Philippines, just lifting weights, and then finally doing this workouts, I was running out of breath," said Animam, who also received her first shot of the COVID-19 vaccine before starting her training in the US.

"But the next day, I was like, no jet lag anymore. I'm comfortable na, and I adjusted really well, that fast," she added.

Animam had made the move to Ohio after a historic campaign with Shih Hsin University in Taiwan, wherein she helped the team to an unbeaten season and the championship. It was Animam's sixth collegiate title and extended her personal winning streak to a stunning 96 consecutive games.

With her is national team coach Pat Aquino, who also guided Animam's career with the Lady Bulldogs. 

"I think she's matured already," Aquino said of Animam's game. "She's really raring to get to that next level, and I hope that level would be the WNBA or whatever."

Animam is similarly hopeful that she will get to play in those leagues -- be it the WNBA, or in competitions in Europe where WNBA players compete during the summer. However, she also acknowledges that she has plenty of things to work on in order to reach that level.

This includes improving her jump shot and dribbling skills. Animam is aware that she has to change her game in the United States, where she can no longer tower over her defenders and overpower them in the post.

"I'm just taking it one step at a time, really focusing on getting better, to improve on the things that I'm lacking," she explained. 

"Right now I'm focusing on my development, my improvement, and getting my body right. I'm open for the opportunities," Animam added. "I trust my agent… When the time comes, I'm just ready to go out there."

Aquino, who is helping Animam get settled in the US while also scouting for Fil-Am talent, stressed that as much as his player has improved, she still has "to be ready."

"That's why she's here with EWP, to get her ready for those kinds of leagues," he said. "We're just happy to see what she's doing right now… We just try to motivate her to do her best."

Patty Scott, a partner at EWP, assured that they are pulling out all stops to help Animam reach her dreams. 

"There's no question her future will be bright," said Scott, who has already linked Animam with an agent. "We just have to get a few more things, boxes checked, and she is gonna make this country extremely even more proud than what you all are right now."

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