Jack Animam announced her arrival in the professional scene after lifting Radnicki Kragujevac over Proleter 023 in a nail-biting 78-77 victory in the opening game of the 2021/22 First Women's Basketball League of Serbia on Saturday (2 October).
The Gilas Pilipinas Women stalwart put her all-around brilliance on full display as she poured out a double-double performance (20 points and 14 rebounds) together with two blocks, two steals and an assist.
As productive as she was all game, Animam's biggest contribution came late in the fourth period, where she converted on a put-back off an Andrea Glomazic miss to give Radnicki a 76-71 lead with 27 seconds left in regulation.
Proleter managed to whittle away at Radnicki's slim lead and come to within 74-76, before Glomazic restored order at the charity stripe to increase the gap at 78-74 with five seconds remaining.
Tijana Cukic then drained a contested three-pointer moments after to cut the deficit down to a point, but time was not on the side of Proleter as Radnicki emerged victorious.
Milica Indic provided ample support for Animam in the narrow win as she supplemented 18 points, seven rebounds, three blocks and a block for Radnicki, who rallied from a 14-point deficit in the second frame.
Marijana Stojanovic also supplied 11 points and four assists off the bench while Ajsa Hadzic had eight points and nine boards. Glomazic, who made the clutch free throws at the end, finished the match with seven points.
Proleter, on the other hand, was led by Cukic who produced 17 points, eight rebounds and five assists that went for naught.
Animam and Radnicki will have a week of preparation before taking on defending champion Crvena Zvezda on Saturday (9 October).
Ohmer Bautista is a sports journalist who has covered local and international sporting events in the Philippines. The views expressed are his own.