MANILA, Philippines – In a shocking development, Filipina star center Jack Animam has been sent to the United States likely for injury treatment by her team Radnicki Kragujevac of the First Women’s Basketball League in Serbia on Saturday, December 11.
A rough translation of the team’s Instagram post sounded as if the Gilas Pilipinas centerpiece had already played her last game for the season. Animam, however, has yet to personally confirm it as she has not responded to media queries regarding her status.
“We escorted our Jack to America. Thanks to her for everything she has done in this short time. She was one of the most important players in the senior team. We wish her a speedy recovery,” read the caption in Serbian.
“As Jack said in the end, ‘No goodbye, but see you,’” the caption concluded.
So far in the current Serbia League season, the 23-year-old Animam has missed the team’s last two games against Partizan 1953 and Radivoj Korac.
In her last on-court appearance against Partizan last November 27, league cameras caught the 6-foot-2 center receiving left knee treatment separately from the team.
Animam was not even able to stand from the bench for the national anthem, nor for the postgame handshakes after Radnicki lost to Partizan, 64-69.
A week later on December 5, she was deactivated from the roster entirely, and was not in the venue as Radivoj Korac earned a 70-63 win.
Animam, who is only signed until March 2022, exceeded all expectations in just eight games for Kragujevac with monstrous averages of 20 points and 14.3 rebounds.
Time will tell if this is just a temporary setback, or if this is truly the unfortunate end of a historic overseas professional breakthrough for Philippine women’s basketball.