Jack Animam's arrival in Ohio has injected a jolt of energy and excitement in the training of East West Private (EWP) players, who have warmly welcomed the Gilas Pilipinas Women star into the fold.
Animam, a standout for the Gilas Pilipinas women's national team and National University (NU), signed with EWP earlier this month and has been training in Cincinnati under the tutelage of coach Dante Harlan, who also works with several women's basketball prospects in the area.
EWP is the same agency that handles the careers of Kobe Paras and Kai Sotto, as well as other young players like Cholo Anonueva of the Far Eastern University high school program and Fil-American Sage Tolentino, who is committed to Auburn University.
Patty Scott, one of the partners in EWP, said Harlan was excited to work with Animam, a five-time champion with the NU Lady Bulldogs. More than the trainer, however, Animam's arrival also energized the other players in their camp.
"I will tell you, the thing that was the most touching, she has completely re-energized and taken them to another level, and that is the men that are on the court," said Scott.
"Coach Pat (Aquino), Herson (Sy), they saw it. From Kobe, to Sage, Cholo," she said. "Kai was even messaging, saying, 'Oh my gosh, how long will she be there?'"
"Because he's gonna be coming back from a break to do something here before his travels take place. Everybody is wanting to play with her. Everyone's wanting to train with her," Scott said of Animam.
"The excitement and the energy that she has brought has just been really electrifying."
Though she only arrived in the United States this month, Animam's progress has been swift. According to Scott, Harlan has been "completely impressed" with her work, especially as Animam seeks to expand her skill set.
While she plays center and forward for the Philippines, Animam is learning to play on the perimeter more as she pursues her dream of playing in elite leagues.
"Every day, she has transformed her game," Scott said of Animam. "I will say, she has to because she's not the biggest here. She has to be a shooter. She can't just play at the post."
"It's really transforming her game and she's completely taken every day as a challenge," she added.
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