A Filipina will get to play Division I volleyball in the United States.
Outside hitter Jillian Santos has transferred from Ateneo de Manila University to University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC).
The UIC Flames play in the Missouri Valley Conference.
Santos, 19, went to Ateneo last year after graduating from University of Santo Tomas High School.
However, she was a “COVID-19” reserve for the Blue Eagles during UAAP Season 84 since she was recovering from an injury.
During the past few months, Jill and her brother Jericho – who is attending Ateneo High School – had to go to America due to a family emergency. It was there where they were discovered.
“I went to the US to attend to an urgent family matter that lead to a decision to relocate to the US. We saw that my brother had opportunities and resources that would be beneficial for their futures,” shared Jill.
“I also wanted to try to continue my college degree here. I was then able to speak with the coaching staff and was very fortunate to be given the chance to train and play for the university.”
Jill and her dad Jeffrey are staunch supporters of Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3, even owning a team during the league’s competition in 2021, the Bocaue Homegrown Rice.
It was during the events taht Jill and Chooks-to-Go president Ronald Mascariñas were able to form a mentorship relationship.
“When Jillian and her father would talk with me, I always noticed her hunger to be more and strive for the best,” said Mascariñas. “And now she is getting to achieve one of her goals which is to play in a Division I school.
“We at Chooks-to-Go are proud of Jillian and we hope that when she returns, she gives back to our country and be part of the national team,” added the sports patron.
“One of the best lessons I learned from Mr. Mascariñas is doing good is good business,” added Jill. “It not only applies to business but also in everything in life.”
Jill and the Flames began their season on Saturday, taking a 3-2 and 3-0 win over South Dakota State and NJIT in the NIU Tournament.