April 25, 2024

Jack Animam gets sentimental as Gilas Pilipinas Women bags SEA Games silver medal

Jack Animam gets sentimental as Gilas Pilipinas Women bags SEA Games silver medal
One Sports' Paolo del Rosario

Gilas Pilipinas Women ended its 32nd Southeast Asian (SEA) Games campaign with a silver medal and 5-1 win-loss card after taking down Malaysia with authority, 77-63, on Monday afternoon at the Techo Morodok Stadium in Phnom Penh.

While the Filipino hoopers' primary objective was to clinch a third straight gold in the biennial meet, winning silver is still something to cherish, especially when things are put into perspective.

Coach Pat Aquino did exactly that in his postgame speech after their medal-clinching victory.

“I know it still feels bad not getting the gold, but as I’ve said before, we came here to play and represent the country, and we did well,” the veteran coach reassured his players.

As the Gilas mentor was thanking his wards for the sacrifices they made in the six-day, round-robin tournament, Jack Animam got emotional when her name was mentioned by Coach Pat, as the drillmaster acknowledged her return to the team after missing the last SEA Games due to a knee injury.

“’Yung feeling na sobrang na-miss ko sila, especially si Coach Pat. Nung na-injured ako, he was there for me. Hindi niya pinaramdam sa akin na porke’t injured ako, I’m not part of the team anymore,” a teary Animam told One Sports' Denise Tan.

The 24-year-old center has been hooping professionally in France before making her Gilas comeback. Now, the pride of Malolos, Bulacan is just savoring every second of being back in her hoops home.

Animam says she owes to Aquino and her Gilas squad much of what she’s achieved from playing the game.

“Hindi ko kaya kung ano man ‘yung lahat ng narating ko ngayon kung hindi dahil sa tiwala niya. Knowing I have coach like him, and I have a team like Gilas, nagkalakas ako ng loob to go out of my comfort zone.”

Aside from the relationships, the 6-foot-5 big is happy for the silver medal they're bringing home. It's not gold, but Animam is not one to take things for granted.

"Siyempre masaya ako kasi we worked hard for it. Hindi man namin nakuha ‘yung goal namin to win the gold, but silver is better than nothing. And we still showed our character,” she said.

At 24, Animam has plenty of chances to wear the Gilas blue in the coming years. And that only means she’ll get another shot at winning the gold medal alongside her beloved teammates.

After all, Coach Pat did say they will be back. 

"Hindi pa naman ito ‘yung last natin,” said Aquino.

(With reports' from One Sports' Denise Tan)