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2021 SEA Games

After missing out 2019 SEAG, Jaja Santiago ready to lead PWNVT in Hanoi


Fresh off a Best Blocker campaign in V.League, Jaja Santiago is raring to play for the Philippine Women’s National Volleyball Team in the 31st Southeast Asian Games slated to begin on Friday.

This as the 6-foot-5 middle blocker missed the 2019 edition of the biennial meet. There, the Philippine squad went rock bottom, dropping all its four games.

With the 30th SEA Games played in November to December of 2019, Santiago was not able to suit up for the country. Instead, she was fulfilling her first-year commitment to club team Saitama Ageo Medics in Japan.

“I’m very happy to play ulit para sa Pilipinas especially ngayong SEA Games kasi wala ako noong last,” said Santiago.

And the former National University standout will bring with her vast international experience she collected in the V.League.

Santiago, in her three years as an import of Ageo Medics, has improved by leaps and bounds, fast becoming one of the best middle in the league.

A testament of that was the Best Blocker award she bagged in the 2021-22 season after leading the league in blocks made and blocking rate.

2021-22-V.League-Saitama-Jaja-Santiago After missing out 2019 SEAG, Jaja Santiago ready to lead PWNVT in Hanoi 2021 SEA Games News Volleyball  - philippine sports news

Photo from Saitama Ageo Medics

“I feel like I can share all my experiences with my teammates, ‘yung mga natutunan ko doon sa Japan,” she said.

With her return alongside a deep team, Santiago is setting her eyes at the top of the podium.

She shared how confident she is with the composition of the squad with a good mixture of explosive youth and smart veterans.

The team which will compete in Vietnam in less than a week will be spearheaded by stalwarts Alyssa Valdez, Aby Maraño, Ces Molina, Majoy Baron, Dawn Macandili, alongside Santiago.

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Completing the 14-player squad will be Mylene Paat, Jema Galanza, Kat Tolentino, Kyle Negrito, Iris Tolenada, Ria Meneses, Dell Palomata, and Kath Arado.

2021-SEA-Games-PWNVT-Brazil-camp- After missing out 2019 SEAG, Jaja Santiago ready to lead PWNVT in Hanoi 2021 SEA Games News Volleyball  - philippine sports news

Photo from PNVF

“We’re very hungry and very eager talaga to win the gold this time sa SEA Games,” said Santiago.

“Sobrang ganda ng lineup natin ngayon. Hindi mababaw, napakadeep ng bench natin… composed tayo ng halong bata, halong beterano.”

Thailand would still be the team to beat, according to Santiago, but her hopes are high that it is not as mighty as it was.

But she was quick to acknowledge that Thailand has a good consistent program with its players already together for a long time.

“I think malaki ‘yung chance natin (mag-gold) kasi ‘yung sa Thailand, retired na ‘yung mga beterano and composed sila ng mga bata.”

Written By

Just a kid from Cavite trying to make a difference.


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