Photos by Courtside Philippines

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Animam, Bernardino savor first PH gold medal in SEA Games Women’s basketball

by Niel Victor Masoy, December 14, 2019 8:01pm

Jack Animam and Afril Bernardino were two of the pillars of the Gilas Pilipinas Women’s basketball team.

And as two of the longest-tenured cagers in the Philippine Women’s national basketball squad coached by Patrick Aquino, Animam and Bernardino suffered two heartbreaks in the Southeast Asian Games.

Animam and Bernardino were part of the Gilas teams that were just a victory away from winning it all in 2015 and 2017 editions of the biennial meet that took place in Singapore and Malaysia, respectively.

All those heartbreaks, though, are now replaced with joy as the duo powered Gilas Women in capturing the Philippines' first gold medal in the 5-on-5 Women’s basketball in the recently concluded 30th edition of the SEA Games.

The 6-foot-2 Animam and the 5-foot-8 Bernardino were just glad to finally get over the hump.

“For the last two seasons ng SEA Games lagi kaming one win away from getting that gold but now we won’t let that happen and we get it, we finished the job,” said Animam.

“Sobrang sarap lang sa feeling, sobrang surreal pala. Yes, I dreamed of this, ito na siya sa harapan ko pero parang nananaginip pa rin ako. Sobrang sarap sa pakiramdam. Dalawang gold ako ngayon,” added Animam as she and Bernardio were also part of the team that won the gold medal of this year’s 3x3 Women’s basketball tourney. 

Bernardino was just as glad especially with Gilas Women winning the gold last December 10 before a sizeable and boisterous home crowd at the Mall of Asia Arena.

“Speechless na rin. Naging part ako ng SEA nung 2015 with coach Pat and yung two seasons na yun, sobrang heartbreaking. Ngayon ito na yung time namin to grab it na talaga. Yung sa 2015 sobrang heartbreaking kasi we almost get that gold medal and Indonesia break us ayun,” said Bernardino.

“Sobrang thankful and nakaka proud. Sobrang nakaka-boost ng energy na dahil sa mga kababayan na nagtsi-cheer sa amin and especially nandun yung mga families namin. Sobrang nakaka-excite maglaro and gusto ko talagang lumaban ng lumaban.”

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