Pro WNBL comes at perfect time for women’s basketball, says Animam
MANILA, Philippines—Basketball in the Philippines was always seen as a male-dominated sport, but that is slowly starting to change especially in the eyes of Gilas Pilipinas center Jack Danielle Animam.
The five-time UAAP champion believes that professional status given to the Women’s National Basketball League just gave the sport another big boost.
Animam said that WNBL as pro league will help push the women’s game into the public consciousness especially with information now getting disseminated easier than ever before.
“This is not just about having a women’s professional league. This is really a good time to have a women’s professional basketball league because the game is steadily growing,” said Animam in Filipino.
“Thanks to social media and traditional media, we’re not left out in exposure and in articles that push women’s basketball.”
Animam, who has never lost a collegiate basketball game, was instrumental in pushing the women’s national team to new heights.
The Philippines won the gold medal in the first 3×3 basketball tournament in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games and followed that up with an inspiring gold medal finish in the traditional 5×5 setting.
Gilas’ win in the women’s basketball tournament in the 2019 SEA Games was the first gold medal for the Philippines in the regional competition and it also broke the duopoly in the discipline that Thailand and Malaysia previously held.
Animam, who’s set to play for Taiwan’s Shih Hsin University as a graduate student, added that the WNBL will also provide the national team program a deeper pool to choose from as the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas are not just looking at collegiate athletes to fill up the ranks but at professional players.
“Now that we have a women’s pro league, the level of competition will be better and there will be more players who will be scouted and that will help in our dream for the Olympics,” said Animam.
The former National University star added that even though she and her other Gilas teammates will compete against each other once the WNBL starts, she knows that their on-court battles will push the women’s game to greater heights.
“The intensity is the same in the women’s game and we’re not just playing against each other, what we want to accomplish is that people will get to know women’s basketball better,” said Animam.