Jack fuels Gilas 3×3 roster

Jack Animam will lead the charge for the Gilas women’s team in the 32nd Southeast Asian Games in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, in May. | PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF Jack Animam

The core of the triumphant gold medal-winning squad, led by Jack Animam, will be back to lead the Philippines in the women’s 3×3 competitions of the 32nd Southeast Asian Games in Phnom Penh in May.

Animam was at the forefront of the Philippines’ success during the inaugural staging of the event in 2019 but she was not around in Hanoi owing to an injury.

Apart from Animam, the big guns will be present, head coach Patrick Aquino said.

Afril Bernardino, Janine Pontejos and Khate Castillo are also suiting up as the Philippines bids to regain the title.

These three players likewise played for the five-on-five squad as they became double gold medalist for the Games.

In last year’s event, only Pontejos and Bernardino returned to the lineup to join center Clare Castro and Angel Surada, but the team could only place fourth after losing to Indonesia in the bronze medal game.

“I hope we can compete better this time around with Jack back and another shooter, Khathe Castillo, added in the line up,” wrote Aquino via Messenger.

“And with a big player like Jack, we have a lot of options now.”

Aside from competing in the 3×3, Animam, Bernardino, Pontejos and Castillo will also play in the five-on-five where the Philippines makes its three-peat bid.

Animam has just recovered from the ACL injury and is back playing high-level competition.

Aquino believes Animam’s stint playing in a big tournament in France while seeing action for Toulose Metropole Basket will help her become a much better player when he returns to the Gilas program.

“Definitely, it will increase her level of play,” added Aquino.

“It will also allow her to get the feel of the action since he was sidelined by an injury for about a year and playing in Europe will certainly make her a better player.”

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