Six-time champ Jack Animam recalls peculiar beginning of hoops career

Six-time champ Jack Animam recalls peculiar beginning of hoops career

MANILA, Philippines — In the present day, Jack Animam is considered one of the household names of elite Philippine basketball players.

But not many people know that the six-time collegiate champion almost never started playing the sport she excels at so much.

Named as the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP)'s Women in Basketball Ambassador, Animam spoke to Bea Daez in the National Sports Association's show titled "Women in Action" on Friday and recalled the peculiar way she first encountered the sport of basketball.

"At first, I wasn't really into basketball. Hindi talaga siya yung first sport ko. I was a badminton player back then," narrated Animam.

All would change for Animam, however, one afternoon when her high school principal would call her into their office to offer her a spot on the school's basketball team.

"Pagdating ko dun sa office ni Sir, pagupo ko sinabi niya agad na 'Gusto mo ba maglaro ng basketball?'" said Animam.

"Sabi ko 'Huh?, ayoko po Sir. Babalik na lang po ako sa badminton pero hindi po talaga, ayoko po talaga magbasketball'," she added.

The principal's request came as their school's girls' basketball team had been running short of players and with her tall height, it looked like a no-brainer for the team to try to convince Animam to join the team.

"Matangkad lang ako at that time, pero wala talaga akong alam sa basketball," said Animam.

The Gilas Pilipinas women mainstay also admitted that the lack of women basketball players in her community did contribute to her hesitance.

For a time in her formative years, the now accomplished woman hooper thought that the sport she fell in love with was for boys only.

"Growing up, wala naman akong nakikitang women's basketball sa community namin… Laging lalaki, sa PBA, sa NBA, so iniisip ko na panglalake lang yung basketball," she said.

But with the help of her principal's insistence and the potential seen by her high school coach, everybody now gets to see just how great Animam is in basketball.

"[Sabi ko sa principal] sige na nga, papayag na ako. Wala namang mawawala sa akin. Subukan ko lang," said Animam.

"The next day, nagstart na ako magtraining with the team," she added.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

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