BACARRA, ILOCOS NORTE — Two of the best volleyball talents of this generation finally crossed paths anew in the Premier Volleyball League Open Conference on Friday night.
When the dust settled, it was Jaja Santiago’s Chery Tiggo who came out victorious after they snapping Alyssa Valdez and Creamline’s 25-game winning streak which can be traced back to 2019.
“Sabi ko nga, nakaka-miss. Kasi sa six years na hindi kami nagtatapat talaga, most of the time nagkakasama kami sa loob ng court sa National team ‘di ba?” said the member of Ageo Medics that won the 2021 V.Cup after the Crossovers’ 25-18, 25-23, 23-25, 25-20 win over the Cool Smashers.
“Parang ano, nakaka-overwhelm kalaban ko ulit si Ate Ly. Nakaka-challenge kasi nung college ako sabihin natin na nakakalaban mo siya, medyo bata ka pa. Hindi mo pa alam kung anong gagawin mo pero ngayon nacha-challenge ka na kailangan ko magimprove or kailangan ko magperform ng maayos para sa team namin.”
Santiago dropped 20 points off 15 attacks, three aces, and two blocks in the win.
“The growth of Jaja not only on her skills na napakalaki, gusto ko yung growth niya as an athlete and individual also.
“Napaka graceful niya bilang isang woman na ngayon so I’m just really looking forward na mas malayo pa yung mararating ni Jaja not only in the Philippines but also around the world,” said Valdez, who finished with 16 points in the loss.
For the longest time, Santiago’s career has always been intertwined with Valdez’s.
To start off, both players have won MVP awards during their time in the UAAP and clinched titles back in the Shakey’s V-League when they were part of the historic PLDT team.
Aside from that, the two — who both suited up for the Philippine women’s national team — also paved the way for Filipino athletes overseas.
Valdez played for 3BB Nakornnont in Thailand and for Attack Line in Taiwan, while Santiago made waves in Japan.
Fans and supporters alike have always failed to meet eye to eye when it comes to Santiago and Valdez’s respective careers.
While the question of who’s better remains uncertain, one thing will forever be the same — it’s that both Santiago and Valdez have made this country very, very proud.
And we cannot thank them enough for it.