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2024 AVC Challenge Cup for Women

Jaja Santiago hopes Alas Women sticks together for Olympic, VNL dreams

Jaja Santiago is confident that Alas Pilipinas Women have what it takes to conquer the 2024 AVC Challenge Cup.

Santiago, who is currently undergoing the naturalization process to play for Japan, watched the Philippines’ 25-13, 25-21, 25-18 drubbing of Chinese Taipei that completed its sweep of Pool A at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum, Sunday night.

The JT Marvelous middle blocker said that there’s nowhere to go but up for Alas Pilipinas following an impressive performance in the pool stage, where they also took down Australia, India, and Iran to post a perfect 4-0 card.

“Yung thoughts ko sa Alas Pilipinas [sa] pagpasok sa semis, I think will be more stronger because itong start nila, maganda na yung pinakita nila,” said Santiago, who is married to Japanese coach Taka Minowa of Nxled.

“I think going to the semifinals the connection [of the team] will be stronger and they will deliver really, and I think they can be the champions really here in the AVC,” she added.

AVC-2024-Philippines-vs.-Taiwan-6205 Jaja Santiago hopes Alas Women sticks together for Olympic, VNL dreams 2024 AVC Challenge Cup for Women Alas Pilipinas News Volleyball  - philippine sports newsSantiago, who last played for the Philippines in the 31st Southeast Asian Games, could not be prouder of this batch of Alas Pilipinas for lifting the country’s standing in both the Asian and world rankings.

Prior to the AVC Challenge Cup, Alas Pilipinas was ranked 63rd in the world and 12th in Asia.

But after the Nationals’ outstanding performance in pool play, the Philippines managed to jump to 55th in the world rankings and eighth in Asia.

“Sobrang nakaka proud kasi before we’re trying to go up and we’re to qualify in other leagues but this time we can see the improvement and how the girls really– they’re working hard to win every game,” said Santiago, who led Chery Tiggo to the 2021 PVL Open Conference title.

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“So, nakaka-proud and nakakataba ng puso gaya nang makita lahat ng tao dito sa arena, sinusuportahan nila [yung team] and I think that’s one of the reasons also na nagdedeliver and nagpeperform ng maayos yung Alas Pilipinas,” she added.

With this, the former National University star believes that it’s only a matter of time before Alas Pilipinas can reach even bigger stages.

“Of course and wish ko is this team will continue hanggang… We really have a big potential na eventually we’ll be in VNL or in Olympics and with this kind of lineup I think we can get that dream.”

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