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    Animam eager to work on individual skills - with Taiwan team goal also in mind

    Oct 7, 2020

    NOTHING else but a championship.

    Jack Animam is firm on her goals as she braces for a new chapter in her basketball career as an import for Shih Hsin University in Taiwan.

    "Expectation ko sa sarili ko, dapat mag-champion kami," she told Spin.ph. "Whatever it takes to get that chip, gagawin ko. Yun yung motivation ko."

    It's no surprise that Animam puts that much pressure on her broad shoulders.

    That kind of confidence is what you get when you go unbeaten in your collegiate career in National University and were a vital part of the Lady Bulldogs' six-peat as well as their historic 96-game win streak.

    And after her double-gold feat with Gilas Pilipinas Women in both the 3x3 and 5-on-5 basketball competitions at the 30th Southeast Asian Games last year, the people should expect no less.

    Lucky for her, the team she's joining won't be that different, with Shih Hsin also the defending champion in the University Basketball Association (UBA).

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    Yet one can't fault Animam for feeling the nerves as she has finally secured her Taiwanese visa and will fly to Taipei on Thursday.

    "Ngayon pa lang nagsi-sink in sa akin na ilang oras na lang, aalis na ako," the 23-year-old said. "Nakakaexcite kasi finally, ito na at totoo na talaga siya. Kabado ako at malungkot, pero nagingibabaw sa akin yung excitement ngayon."

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    But this early, her NU peers, led by coach Pat Aquino, have already given her assuring words to calm her nerves and never forget why she's there: to further hone her game in a foreign country.

    "Sabi lang nila sa akin na alagaan ko daw ang sarili ko doon. Stay healthy and galingan ko doon. Hearing those words, nakakalakas ng loob para sa akin kasi ganoon kalaki ang tiwala nila na kaya ko sa Taiwan," she said.

    Once she gets to Taiwan, Animam will be subjected to a mandatory 14-day quarantine before she can finally blend in with her new squad.

    The Malolos, Bulacan native, however, is positive that things can only work out well, believing that she has ample time to build chemistry with her new teammates.

    "Saktong sakto lang yung dating ko. May time pa ako for adjustment and para makabuo ng chemistry with the team," she said, with Shih Hsin's first game slated on November 16.

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      Not only is this a new beginning for Animam, but also gives her another shot at a championship.

      The 6-foot-2 banger suffered an orbital fracture on her right eye during Gilas Womens' game against Korea in the 2019 Fiba Women's Pre-Olympic Qualifying Tournament, keeping her grounded in Auckland as the UAAP Season 82 Finals were being played.

      Although NU sorely missed her averages of 15.0 points, 12.4 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 1.5 steals, and 1.1 blocks, the Lady Bulldogs used her as an inspiration as they won their sixth straight title.

      This time, Animam wants in when the confetti falls.

      And when it's all said and done, don't be surprised to see Animam at her best version yet.

      "Gusto ko ma-improve yung shooting ko and yung ball control ko, para pagkatapos ko lumaro doon, mas malawak na yung range ng laro ko," she said.
      ___

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