Since debuting for the 1st Asian U23 Asian Volleyball Championship, the Philippine Women’s National Volleyball Team has caught the eyes of fellow Asian teams, and one of the players that stood out to fellow Asian neighbors is no other than the 6-foot-5 middle blocker, Jaja Santiago.
Offering a mix of height and power, Santiago can easily improve a team’s net defense and offer a steady offensive punch through her thunderous quick attacks. Furthermore, with Taiwan aiming to tap her as an import in their commercial leagues, Santiago is now presented with the golden opportunity to hone her craft further.
“In Taiwan, we have foreigner players in our men’s teams, but we don’t have foreigners yet for our women’s teams. So if we have the chance, we would like to invite Jaja to join us in our league in Taiwan,” said Taiwan Head Coach, Ming-Hui Lin, through a translator. “She would be very popular in Taiwan.”
In both matches against Taiwan in the ongoing U23 tilt, Santiago averaged norms of 8.5 points per game, while, at the same time, anchoring the Philippines’ net defense.
Moreover, even PH U23 team coach Roger Gorayeb yearns for more international experience for his ragtag bunch of volleybelles. If they have more international immersions, then the faster they shall improve which could aid the country in future international tournaments.
“We need to expose our players, not locally, but internationally. We have to make a strong [talent] pool and travel abroad to get the necessary experience that they need in order to be competitive in international competitions,” Gorayeb remarked.
Also, the Taiwanese group indicated that they plan to tap more Filipino volleyball players in the future.
“In the future, we see ourselves inviting more Filipino players to Taiwan to join us in our leagues,” ended Lin. “I know that Filipinos love volleyball in their country, and if we have the chance we can play together again.”