Gilas Pilipinas Women will benefit from Animam's experience in the US

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 26 2021 04:46 PM

Gilas Pilipinas Women will benefit from Animam's experience in the US 1
Gilas Pilipinas Women forward Jack Animam. FIBA.basketball

MANILA, Philippines -- Even as Jack Animam chases her hoop dreams in the United States, she keeps her commitment to the Philippine national team in her mind.

Animam, a five-time UAAP champion and mainstay of the Gilas Pilipinas women's squad, recently signed with East West Private (EWP) and is now training in Ohio. EWP also manages the careers of Kai Sotto and Kobe Paras, among other Filipino prospects.

The former National University (NU) star has made no secret of her desire to play at a higher level -- be it at the WNBA or in Europe. However, she is also determined to elevate the Gilas Pilipinas Women through her experiences.

"Sobrang laking bagay nito, hindi lang para sa akin," the 22-year-old Animam recently told reporters. "Para sa women's basketball din."

"Lahat ng matutunan ko dito, all the experiences that I will gain here, I will give back sa Gilas. I will share it to my teammates," she added. "Sobrang laking bagay nito."

Animam has been a cornerstone of the Philippine team for several years now. She won two gold medals in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games, one for 3x3 and another for 5-on-5. 

Pat Aquino, who coached Animam in NU and also calls the shots for the Gilas Women, is looking forward to seeing the impact of Animam's experience in the US on the rest of the team.

"The experience Jack will have here will level up everything," he said. "She will bring back all the experiences back to her teammates back home, and all of that, having trained with the best here with East West and the best trainers we have."

"I am very, very happy to make it to a point na I have a future player here that can represent our country, not just internationally, but to the whole world," he added.

Moreover, Aquino is confident that Animam's foray is just the start. 

Many Filipinas have already played in leagues in Southeast Asia, including another NU icon in Afril Bernardino. Animam, however, is opening a different kind of door by trying her luck in the US.

"To tell you frankly, this is an achievement already," said Aquino. "But again, we won't stop."

"We'd just like to continue building bridges and reaching out for everybody. Hopefully, this won't stop. We'll send more in the coming years, and hopefully, it will help the national team in the future," he added. 

FROM THE ARCHIVES: 

Watch more on iWantTFC