Led by Jaja Santiago’s 25 points, the NU Lady Bulldogs secured a playoff berth with their four-set victory over the Adamson Lady Falcons last Wednesday.
Current NU coach Roger Gorayeb has helped the team veer into playoff contention since he took over at the start of the year. The coaching change wasn’t easy for both the team and Coach Roger, as it was clear during the first few games that they needed some time to gel as a group. Since then, the team has been on a hot streak, and their time together is starting to show results.
“Happy ako kasi nakukuha namin yung tinuturo sa amin ni Coach Roger. Yung gusto niyang mangyari sa team, at yung gusto niyang galaw namin sa loob ng court. Kasi nung una, hindi pa talaga kami magtagpo kung ano yung gusto niya. So yun, masaya kaming lahat kasi nagagawa namin yung gustong pagawa ni Coach,” shared Jaja in an interview with Tiebreaker Times.
Upon taking over the coaching reins, Coach Roger claimed that he wanted Jaja to score at least five points per set. Scoring 25 points in four sets against Adamson, it appears that Jaja has achieved her coach’s desire for her. Despite this, Jaja is not content with the improvement of her play.
“Sa akin kasi, yung 25 points na yun for me hindi pa ako kuntento. Kasi alam ko na marami pa akong matututunan sa kanya. Alam kong madadagdagan pa yung skills ko sa kanya. Alam ko na may ma-iimprove pa ako. So hindi ako kuntento sa nagawa ko,” said Santiago.
Santiago shared that since the start of the season, the Lady Bulldogs have always believed that they could make it into the Final Four. Now that they have made it into the playoff picture, the team has set their sights on their next destination, the finals.
“Itong win na ‘to sobrang laki ng dala niya sa amin. Kasi naseal namin yung third place, and alam namin na nasa Final Four kami. Kasi yun naman talaga yung aim namin, na makapasok sa Final Four. Ngayon na nakapasok kami sa Final Four, ang aim namin is yung finals. Malaking tulong yung game na ito sa amin,” mused Santiago.
The Lady Bulldogs’ final match of the regular season is against the UP Lady Maroons. While the match does not affect NU’s standing, it is a must win for UP if they hope to make it into the Final Four.