MANILA, Philippines, July 2 ------ The opportunities just keep coming for Philippine basketball star Jack Animam. After leading the Philippines to its first ever gold medal in women’s 5-on-5 and 3-on-3 basketball events in the Southeast Asian Games last year, Animam is officially taking her act to Taiwan as a foreign student-athlete for Shih Hsin University in the University Basketball Association (UBA).
“Masaya ako and super excited kasi hindi naman araw araw may ganitong opportunity,” Animam, who also fulfilled one of her goals in taking a master’s degree, told INQUIRER.net Wednesday. The 6-foot-2 forward made it no secret about her intention to play overseas. In fact, the offer to play in Taiwan came last year and the deal was already in the works several months ago. “It’s a league featuring big companies—brands like Nissan, Taiwan Electric,” Gilas Pilipinas Women head coach Pat Aquino told the INQUIRER last April. “Although I believe the offer is still being finalized.”
According to Aquino, who has always shown his full support to his players’ career decisions, Animam’s latest endeavor will also be of big help to the Philippine women’s basketball program. “Proud of her and happy for the opportunity for her to learn more,” Aquino told INQUIRER.net Wednesday. “This will not only be good for Jack’s career, but it will also benefit the national women’s basketball program.”
Animam also believes she will gain invaluable experience from her stint in Taiwan which she will be able to impart with her Gilas teammates back home. “Malaking tulong yung ma-ggain kong experience sa Taiwan para sa national team. Yung mga matututunan ko dun ma-i-aapply ko sa Gilas.” The 21-year-old Animam said she expects to leave for Taiwan either at the end of July or first week of August.