MANILA, Philippines – The quartet of Jack Animam, Afril Bernardino, Clare Castro, and Janine Pontejos will leave the 30th Southeast Asian Games as double gold medalists.
This, after they ruled the 3x3 competition then helped the Gilas Pilipinas women's team win their first-ever gold medal in the 5-on-5 event as well.
The double gold is an achievement that they share with the rest of their teammates in the 5-on-5 team, according to Bernardino.
"'Yung 3x3, pinaghirapan namin," said Bernardino, the three-time UAAP MVP from National University. "And hindi lang kaming apat, but 'yung mga teammates din namin."
"Tumulong din talaga sa amin to achieve kung ano 'yung nakuha namin noong 3x3, and in-apply namin siya sa 5-on-5," she explained.
For Animam, their triumph in the 3x3 event fueled them to push even harder in search for their breakthrough gold in the full-court game.
It was the first time that 3x3 was played in the SEA Games, and the Filipinas made sure that the inaugural gold would belong to them.
"Noong nag-champion kami sa 3x3, ganoon pala 'yung feeling mag-champion sa SEA Games, first ever," said Animam.
"And then noong nag-huddle kami right after the 3x3, kaming apat, sabi namin, ang sarap sa pakiramdam. So, gawin din natin ito sa 5-on-5, and ito na nga 'yun. Sobrang sarap," she added.
That she will come away from the SEA Games with two gold medals brought Animam to tears. Two weeks ago, she had to miss her final two games for the NU Lady Bulldogs after sustaining an orbital fracture during the FIBA pre-Olympic qualifying tournament in New Zealand.
"Buong week na andoon ako, sobrang iyak ako nang iyak. Tapos nagdadasal lang ako, sabi ko kay God na, 'Baka may plano ka sa akin, kaya ganito 'yung nangyari', and ito nga 'yun," she said.
"Sobrang sarap, double gold ako sa SEA Games."
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