Playing basketball wasn’t Animam’s original plan, but look where she is now
MANILA, Philippines—Jack Danielle Animam knew what she wanted to do when she was just in high school, but fate had other plans.
Focusing on badminton as a freshman at Marcel H. Del Pilar High School in Malolos, Animam had no intention of playing basketball and only picked up the sport by accident.
“I started from scratch as in zero,” said Animam in Filipino during a Zoom conversation with Inquirer Thursday.
“When I was in first year high school I played badminton and I only had to stop because my allergies got bad.”
A two-month bout with her allergies, however, changed Animam’s trajectory and what started as a whim eventually became a career.
“When I came back to school, the principal called for me to get to his office and I was asked if I wanted to play basketball and I answered no because the sport was usually reserved for boys,” said Animam. “But it was already an hour into our conversation and I really wanted to go home so I just told him that I’d play.”
Animam’s conversation with her high school principal inevitably led to what turned out as the greatest collegiate basketball dynasty of this generation.
The center-slash-power forward enrolled at National University and played under Pat Aquino, eventually leading six UAAP titles and a winning streak that stretched to 96 games.
Animam’s success led to her inclusion into the Gilas Pilipinas Women’s team. In 2019, she helped the Philippines to the double gold finish in the Southeast Asian Games for the 3×3 and traditional 5×5 tournaments.
“Never in my wildest dreams did I see this. I never expected to become a basketball player and play with the national team, and go to a school that went undefeated for six years” said Animam.
Just like any young athlete coming out of college, Animam has set her sights into greater ventures.
Animam is set to play for Shih Hsin University in Taiwan as a graduate student and will suit up in the Women’s National Basketball League when she gets back.
After that, then Animam is dreaming of helping the Philippine women’s team to the Olympics.
“Every athlete dreams of reaching the Olympics and now that there’s a women’s professional league then the level of competition is going to go up,” said Animam. “More talents will be scouted and that will really help on the road to the Olympics.”