By Michael Angelo S. Murillo, Senior Reporter
AFTER making a name for herself in the local collegiate scene and as a member of the national team, top female basketball player Jack Animam is now looking forward to her next hoops journey which would see her play in a league overseas.
In the recent episode of Tiebreaker Vods’ So She Did! podcast where she was a guest along with fellow national players Afril Bernardino and Clare Castro, Ms. Animam, 21, shared that after some time she finally decided to take the offer to play for Shih Hsin University in the University Basketball Association in Taiwan.
The National University standout will be taking a master’s degree in public relations and advertising in the Taiwan university to be eligible to play.
“In August last year, they (Shih Hsin University) came here for training camp. Then their coach reached out to me by Instagram, asking me to join them for next season. So I was surprised,” said Ms. Animam of how it all got started.
“It did not sink in it right away though because I still had the UAAP (University Athletic Association of the Philippines) and the SEA Games (Southeast Asian Games). The offer was not a priority for me at that time. Then after the SEA Games I was asked anew if I want to play in Taiwan and that was when the negotiations started,” she added.
With Shih Hsin University, Ms. Animan said she hopes to have the kind of success she had while playing for the NU Lady Bulldogs that had her winning numerous individual awards and playing a key role in the school winning its sixth straight UAAP title and a 96-0 unbeaten run which still stands to this day.
Ms. Animam views her stint in Taiwan as an opportunity as well to grow her game and possibly open more playing opportunities for her on the international stage.
But while she welcomes the chance to parlay her wares and make a name for herself in Taiwan, Ms. Animam still expressed hope that women players be given a platform to show what they can do here in the country and for players like her not needing to go abroad.
“We really want to have a women’s league in the country because there are a lot of talents available here but there is no avenue for it. It is unfortunate that we have to go overseas just to play instead of playing here,” she said.
As she prepares to embark on her new journey, Ms. Animan shared that she is very grateful to all those who helped her be where she is right now, in particular NU coach Patrick Aquino.
“Coach Pat really is a big influence for me, not just as a player but also as a person. He may be tough on us on the court but that is only because he wants us to be good at what we are doing. Outside of the court he is comforting. He will talk to you, share his experiences from which you can learn a lot from. He was instrumental in my growth,” she said.
In last year’s SEA Games here, Ms. Animan did double duty, playing for both the 5×5 and 3×3 teams where she won a gold medal each for.
“It was tough in the SEA Games because I had to do double training and, of course, the games. But in the end it was all worth it.”