People & Inspiration

In Focus: Danica Jose of Gilas Pilipinas on Overcoming Her Teenage Insecurities Through Basketball

In Focus: Danica Jose of Gilas Pilipinas on Overcoming Her Teenage Insecurities Through Basketball

 

By Valerie Uy

As the curtain closed on the recently concluded SEA Games 2019, many of our Filipino athletes wrote their names into history. One of these is the Gilas Pilipinas Women’s Team, who captured two gold medals in both the 3x3 and 5x5 basketball tournaments. Often overlooked in comparison to their more popular male counterparts, our women’s team finally got the recognition they’ve always deserved, and we cannot be happier for them!

We sat down with ABS-CBN’s very own Danica Jose, who is part of this historic team, on her basketball journey, the status of women in sports, and how she hopes to inspire young and aspiring athletes to never give up on their dream.

 
 
 
View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Danica Jose (@danicaj18) on

The daughter of former PBA star Bobby Jose, Danica recalls playing basketball at a very early age. “Most of my cousins who were close to my age were boys, plus my younger brother, so it was very natural for us to always be out playing,” she says. This was not the case in school, however. Before she started playing for the varsity team, Danica was very insecure of her height. “I was always the tallest one in school, even at a young age. I would often get teased and called weird for being so tall.” She remembers crying to her parents, asking them why she was so tall, and hoped she would stop growing. “I would always make myself small during class pictures just to look normal,” she recalls.

 
 
 
View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Danica Jose (@danicaj18) on

Everything changed when her coaches at Miriam asked her to try out for the basketball team. Her height became her biggest asset, and playing competitive basketball helped her build confidence. “Basketball became the instrument in building my confidence and making me feel unashamed of my height.” And from there, she has never looked back – 3 peat titles in high school, mythical 5 honors with the Ateneo Lady Eagles in college, and the National Team – which she’s been part of since she was fifteen. Her proudest moment as an athlete was everything coming full circle and stepping on the podium for a historic gold medal, standing tall in front of the home crowd, playing the sport she loves most for flag and country.

Danica hopes their historic SEA Games achievement will an opening for bigger dreams for women’s basketball, such as grassroots programs and campaigns that follow the journey of Filipina athletes. “In the Philippines, basketball is always seen as a male sport.” Despite attempts at creating a women’s commerical league, options for turning professional after college aren’t as much compared to their male counterparts. “And it’s not just for women’s basketball,” she adds, “I hope that this will be the start of providing more opportunities for Filipino athletes in general.”

 
 
 
View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Danica Jose (@danicaj18) on

And her advice to young girls who want to follow their passion? “Just keep playing, just keep working – commit to your training and believe in yourself. Don’t be intimidated by what people say, just do what you do best.” We couldn’t have said it better!

ALSO READ: #TheStrongSide: These UAAP 81 Volleyball Stars Get Real On Embracing Their Truest Selves

Latest

Popular

Trending

The Writer

View All

Recommended from Other ABS-CBN Websites