The Philippine National Volleyball Federation celebrated with the entire nation after Jaja Santiago helped power Saitama to the V.League V Cup last Sunday.
For the federation, it is an important personal feat not just for the 25-year-old native of Cavite, but also for the development of the national team.
“On behalf of the entire leadership of PNVF, I extend my warmest and most heartfelt congratulations for your achievement,” PNVF president Tats Suzara told Santiago in a letter.
“Let this be an important milestone that will bring even much more to your already outstanding career.”
Santiago feels grateful for the support of the federation for her campaign, which did not waver over the past three years.
“Thank you very much, Sir Tats. Para sa bayan!” expressed Santiago.
Santiago became the first Filipino to win a volleyball title outside of the Philippines. At home, on the other hand, the 6-foot-5 outside spiker from National University won club championships with PLDT Home Ultera and Foton, and was the UAAP Season 80 MVP.
Saitama beat NEC, 26-24, 20-25, 25-21, 25-17, in the gold medal match at Ota City General Gymnasium in Tokyo with Santiago contributing 11 points on nine spikes and two blocks. She is the third best performer on her side after Yuka Sato (15 points) and Shainah Joseph (14 points).
The Ageo Medics swept the five-game eliminations in Group B and eliminated JT Marvelous, 25-21, 25-22, 18-25, 18-25, 15-13, in the semifinals.
The Filipina also helped Saitama to the bronze medal in the 2020 V.League.
Santiago is due to return from Japan on Wednesday.