With Jaja Santiago out of the picture, the Philippine Women’s National Volleyball team has turned to several of the country’s middle blockers to fill in the huge shoes left by the 6-foot-5 stalwart.
One of those players is Maddie Madayag.
The Larong Volleyball Sa Pilipinas, Inc. tapped the 5-foot-11 middle blocker – along with Jovelyn Gonzaga and Roselyn Doria – to bolster the training pool, since five players have withdrawn from national duty.
“I’m very glad na sila Coach Shaq [Delos Santos] wanted to get me kasi it’s an opportunity rin as a player na I can grow,” the former Ateneo Lady Eagle bared.
“Masaya ako kasi ngayon lang ako nagkaroon ng chance na makasali talaga kasi first year ako, underage ako. Second year, na-injure ako. Tapos third year, fourth year hanggang ‘pag graduate ako, I was committed to Ateneo.”
Madayag also disclosed that LVPI had asked her to join the training pool even in the midst of Ateneo’s campaign in the UAAP Season 81 Women’s Volleyball tournament.
“Noong season pa lang, tinatanong ako kung interested ako. Sabi ko oo naman. Bakit naman aayaw ako maglaro para sa bayan?” she pointed out.
“Hindi lang talaga ako available at that time.”
She then continued, “Noong UAAP pa, ‘di rin kami naka-tryout ni Kat [Tolentino] kasi we had training tsaka may games kami.”
Touted as one of the best defenders above the net in the local volleyball landscape, Madayag carries the responsibility of filling the void left by Santiago. The former NU star is training with Ageo Medics in Japan for her second tour of duty.
But Madayag made it known that the load won’t fall on her shoulders alone. She emphasized that it’ll be a collective effort shared among her and the rest of the team’s middle blockers, which include Mika Reyes, Majoy Baron, Aby Maraño and Doria.
“Mas masaya kung andoon si Jaja diba? We’ll still give our best naman, tsaka it’s a team effort. So kung ano yung gusto ng team ‘yun naman ‘yung lalabas,” she said.
“Doon naman sa filling in kay Jaja, marami din kaming gitna sa roster eh. We’re gonna train harder for the spot of Jaja to fill it in and we’re gonna give our all para sa bayan.”
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