Just three months ago, Chery Tiggo hoisted the inaugural professional championship of the Premier Volleyball League.
Back then, sisters Dindin and Jaja Santiago literally laid it all on the line. They lifted the Crossovers past defending champion Creamline in an epic contest.
Come the 2021 Philippine National Volleyball Federation Champions League, Dindin will no longer have her younger sister Jaja on her side. Instead, the towering spiker is back in the V.League.
And the 28-year-old Dindin will not just need to fill the shoes left by Jaja on the court. She also needs to wear the captain’s hat Jaja left.
“Actually, mas gusto kong maging follower lalo na ‘pag ang captain ball mo ay si Jaja,” she told The Game. “Pero siyempre, opportunity para sa akin to lead ‘yung Chery.
“Hindi naman sila mahirap i-handle at okay na nandito sila para tulungan nila ako.”
Chery will still have a virtually intact team come the tournament that begins on Saturday.
The team lost Janine Navarro, Marian Buitre, and Gyzelle Sy, but were able to nab outside hitter May Luna, libero Julia Angeles, and setter Necelle Gual from free agency.
The two-time V-League Most Valuable Player noted that chemistry will be a huge difference, especially when they face off against F2 Logistics on the 25th.
“Siguro, super intense,” she described about the much-anticipated matchup next week. “Excited kaming makatapat sa F2 kasi challenge sa amin ito. Alam din namin na buong-buo sila at simula college pa lang magkakasama sila.
“Malaking challenge sa amin ito dahil kami ‘yung PVL champion tapos sila, hawak nila ‘yung korona sa kabilang league. Pareho naming pinaghahandaan ‘yung isa’t isa.”
Winning the PNVF Champions League crown will be the cherry on the top for Chery Tiggo’s year.
And so from day one up to the last, Dindin stresses to her team that they can’t let up.
“For us, i-eenjoy namin tong Champions League and all out every game. Importante ang bawat laro kaya all out talaga.”