JACK Animam has always been in the frontlines for Philippine women's basketball.
And after a banner year that was for her with National University and Gilas Pilipinas Women, she hopes that those successes would only snowball to bigger things for ladies' hoops in the future.
"After all these years, parang yung gold na lang sa SEA Games ang missing piece kung bakit stagnant pa rin ang women's basketball dito. But since nakuha na namin yung gold medal, it's a new beginning and fresh start ito," she said.
Animam was front and center in the Lady Bulldogs' six-peat in the UAAP, where they extended their historic winning streak to 96 straight games.
She also was a big part in the national team's triumph in the 30th Southeast Asian Games, both in 3x3 and 5-on-5 disciplines.
For those contributions, the 6-foot-5 forward was conferred with the honor of being the first Ms. Basketball awardee in the 2020 SMC-PSA Awards Night at Manila Hotel last week.
Though she admits that the award came unexpected for her, Animam shared that everything she did for both the NU Lady Bulldogs and the national team are all forged with blood, sweat, and tears.
"Hard work talaga eh. Walang swerte," the 21-year-old shared. "Talagang pinagtrabahuan namin every day, sobra ang sacrifices namin kaya kami nasa position na ito."
Yet Animam knows that as sturdy as the foundation she and her peers have done, what matters for Philippine women's basketball is what's next.
"Nakatuntong na yung isang paa namin kaya sana masuportahan pa kami cause there's so much more for womens basketball," she said.
Indeed, one small step for Animam, one giant leap for Philippine women's basketball.