Top PH women’s cager has big dreams beyond PH shores
Jack Danielle Animam has downloaded an NBA app that allows her to work on her dribbling skills.
“[B]ut I really cannot shoot hoops,” she told the Inquirer with a deep sigh.
“There’s a court two blocks from my place which was supposed to be refurbished,” she added. “It wasn’t able to get the new ring it was set to have because of the lockdown.”
Technically, it is called the enhanced community quarantine. A response to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic that has grounded sporting activities all over the world, the lockdown has yanked off every opportunity for Luzon-based athletes to train the way they always do.
“I used to train every day. Then all of a sudden, everything stopped. My world is at a standstill. It got me thinking, too: What about people’s plans?”
And Animam, part of the fabled National University squad that has won 96 straight UAAP matches, has grand ones in the horizon.
Animam told the Inquirer late Friday night that she has been sought by Shih Hsin University (SHU), the newly minted champion of Taiwan’s collegiate league.
“Their coach has long been friends with our [NU] team managers and coach Pat [Aquino],” she said in Filipino. “They have been our contacts whenever we go to Taiwan for training camp.”
“Last year, [SHU] went here. I didn’t know they were interested in getting me. This was still during the UAAP season,” she added.
The Gilas Pilipinas women’s center said she has already accepted the offer, and now just finalizing the details of her deal.
Animam, a UAAP Most Valuable Player and Philippine Sportswriters Association’s recently crowned Miss Basketball, was supposed to bolster the country’s bids in two Fiba 3×3 events.
But the basketball body, on March 13, decided to suspend all of its competitions to shield athletes from the virus.
A big part of the decision to take up the SHU deal was to continue improving for the national team and also to fill the lack of a proper women’s league in the country.
The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas hopes to put up a women’s league someday. But that will take time. And Animam wants a platform to improve herself immediately.
“I want to win in the [Southeast Asian] Games, again. The only way I could do that is to improve,” she said. “Also, to help better [Gilas Pilipinas’] placing in Fiba Asia.”
Animam is supposed to go to Taiwan “around July or August.”
For now, the 21-year-old cager said she is trying to stay fit despite being confined to her home.
There is a chance she will be staying there a little longer. The lockdown could extend beyond its original schedule and travel bans may remain in place. Told about that scenario, Animam could only let out another sigh.
“Huwag naman sana.”
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