Jaja Santiago and her Saitama opened the new year with a 25-20, 22-25, 25-23, 25-19 win over Kurobe in the 2021-22 V.League Division 1 women’s tournament, Saturday at the Saiden Chemical Arena.
The 6-foot-5 Filipina import feasted at the net, nailing five blocks to go with 11 attacks to finish with 16 points in the triumph.
Santiago’s performance further solidified her place as one of the best blockers in the league. She currently has the second-most blocks with 37, one shy of leader Natsumi Watabiki of PFU.
The 2-13 AquaFairies were able to snag the second set with a 25-22 escape. But the Ageo Medics responded with urgency, nabbing the next two to seal the deal.
Brazilian import Lorenne Teixeira led Saitama with 21 points scattered through 18 attacks, two blocks, and a service ace.
Mami Uchiseto chipped in 15 points including three blocks, while Yuka Sato added 10 points as well.
Ageo Medics rose to 9-6 for a joint sixth place with the Bluecats, just half a game behind Hisamitsu at 9-5.
Imports Merete Lutz and Pimpichaya Kokram led the charge for Kurobe. The former tallied 20 points with five blocks, while the latter delivered 15 points.
Aya Hosonuma had six of the AquaFairies’ 16 blocks and ended with 13 points.
They meet again tomorrow at 12:00 PM at the same Saitama arena.