Former National University standout, Dindin Santiago-Manabat, is on a high right now. She earned the Best Middle Blocker award alongside teammate Aby Maraño, while helping her team, the Petron Blaze Spikers, win their back-to-back PSL championship when they defeated the Shopinas.com Lady Clickers in four sets in Game Two of the PSL All Filipino Cup Finals.
Dindin tearfully hugged her teammates as the confetti rained down on the court after the Petron victory, and it was obvious that this championship was truly special to her. In an interview with Tiebreaker Times we were able to find out just how much this meant to her.
“Sobrang special niya, kasi nung time na NU ako, once lang nangyari sa akin ‘yun, nung Shakey’s V-League. So para sa akin, kaya pala namin mag back-to-back. Sobrang grabe, back-to-back… pwede pala.”
Her path to the top has not been an easy one, as she has been heavily criticized for backing out of joining the Philippines team that competed in the recently concluded AVC U23 tournament. With the amount of negative attention she has received lately, you’d think that Dindin’s moral would be deflated, or at least dented.
However, that isn’t the case for the young athlete. Through the interview, Dindin shared with Tiebreaker Times how she used other people’s criticism of her to rise above her difficulties and prove everyone wrong.
“Sobra, ang dami kong haters. Sa akin, siyempre ‘yung haters ‘yung nagpapalakas ng loob ko. Everytime na dumadami ‘yung haters, dun ako natututo. Ginawa kong aral ‘yung mga sinasabi nila,” shared Dindin. “Sa akin, kung ano man yung masasakit na sinasabi nila, bali wala sa akin ‘yun. Kung masaya sila na siraan ako, maging masaya sila, kasi kaya ko ‘yung sarili ko, nagiging masaya ako.”
Through all the challenges she has gone through, Dindin managed to ascend them all, culminating in a championship for her team and an individual award for herself.
Of course, while she may have detractors, she also has legions of supporters that prod and cheer her every step of the way. Be it her family, her friends, or her fans, Dindin is extremely grateful for all of their support.
“’Yung mga supporters ko, siyempre una nagpapasalamat ako kasi hindi sila nagsasawang sumuporta sa akin. Nandiyan sila para ipagtanggol ako. Maraming salamat. Hindi sila nagsasawa, and nandiyan sila pag may-umaaway sakin.”
Now that she has once again conquered the PSL, what’s next for the elder Santiago sister?
“Di na sabay yung laro. Makaka-focus na ako sa V-league, and then SEA Games.”
Love her or hate her, one thing is for sure, Dindin is one hell of an athlete, and when she sets her mind on something, there’s no stopping her.