LIPA CITY, BATANGAS—Dindin Santiago-Manabat decided to stick with the positives after Chery Tiggo’s loss to F2 Logistics forced them to settle for a silver finish in the PNVF Champions League on Thursday at the Aquamarine Recreational Center here.
Needing to sweep the unbeaten Cargo Movers on the final day of the tourney to claim the first-ever title, the Crossovers poured everything on the Taraflex but still could not overcome the Kalei Mau-led F2 Logistics.
This resulted in a 20-25, 20-25, 22-25 sweep which ended the reigning PVL champion’s bid for another title before the year closed.
Despite the loss, Santiago-Manabat saw a lot of improvements from her squad which played without the likes of star hitter Jaja Santiago, who is currently in the Japan V.League, and Shaya Adorador, who played exceptionally well in their PVL conquest but missed the Champions League due to an injury.
“Yung team ko ngayon kahit papaano nag improve talaga kasi siyempre may mga nawalang players sa amin and siyempre si Jaja nawala rin isa sa mga main spikers namin pero nagampanan namin yung butas na yun e,” said Santiago-Manabat after the loss.
“More on maraming challenges na kailangan naming malagpasan so ngayon hindi naman every [tournament] malakas talaga kami so kailangan naming punan yung mga kailangan naming punan.”
For the 28-year-old Santiago-Manabat, everything is still worth it in the end for her and the entire Chery Tiggo team considering the struggles that they have been through throughout the year. Moreover, she’s also thankful to her coaches, who handed her the leadership mantel, for their unwavering trust in her.
In the end, the 6-foot-2 spiker still got her consolation prize as she took home the second Best Outside Hitter award along with teammate Maika Ortiz, who bagged the second Best Middle Blocker plum.
“Sobrang saya ko kasi parang worth it lahat ng pinaghirapan ko kasi every day talaga struggle ako,” bared the two-time V-League MVP. “Maraming masakit sa katawan ko pero siyempre nandiyan si Lord tinutulungan ako nandiyan yung mga coaches ko, nandiyan teammates ko, nandiyan yung mga loved ones ko, nandiyan mga pamilya ko para suportahan ako so sobrang saya lang din talaga.
“Yun nga yung mga coaches sobrang naappreciate ako and yun nga parang every time na naappreciate ako ng tao parang mas gusto ko pang pag pursigihan siguro magpapahinga muna ako and siyempre hindi pa rin ako hihinto mag palakas para next season mas makita pa nila yung improvements ko and ng team namin.”
For now, Santiago-Manabat, who also suited up for the National Team in the Asian Women’s Club Volleyball Championship after the Premier Volleyball League Open Conference, will take her well-deserved rest.
Rest assured, Santiago-Manabat and the rest of the Crossovers will return stronger than before for next year’s competitions.