UAAP VOLLEYBALL: Jaja Santiago earns nod as Player of the Week
Jaja Santiago of National University is chosen as the UAAP Press Corps' Player of the Week from February 7-11.
National University’s Jaja Santiago is just plainly dominating the 80th UAAP women’s volleyball tournament.
Her scoring prowess was in full display the past week when she led the Lady Bulldogs to back-to-back victories that preserved NU’s pristine record for the hold of the solo lead.
The Lady Bulldogs collected three straight victories overall in as many outings all thanks to Santiago’s consistent performance.
Santiago’s feat was enough for her to get the nod as UAAP Press Corps' Player of the Week from February 7-11.
The graduating 6-foot-5 star did not only put up stellar numbers in their past three games but she also proved that she is the heart and soul of the Lady Bulldogs.
Santiago erupted with 26 points built on 20 kills, four blocks and two service aces to repel the comeback of Ateneo de Manila University in five sets, 25-19, 25-19, 20-25, 12-25, 15-7, last Wednesday.
Just four days after, she unloaded 23 points as the Lady Bulldogs avoided the upset ax of University of the East, 25-15, 18-25, 25-22, 25-19.
The NU skipper lands as the current second best scorer averaging 21.7 points in three games just two points shy of University of Sto. Tomas’ Sisi Rondina (23.3 points per game) average.
Santiago bested Rondina, Jema Galanza of Adamson U and sophomore seter Michelle Cobb of De La Salle University for the weekly recognition given by sportswriters from broadsheets, tabloids and online.
For NU Head Coach Babes Castillo, Santiago is not only giving the impressive numbers the team needed but also stepped up when it mattered most.
“I think their captain responded right on the dot on what the situation is asking for,” said Castillo of Santiago. “The team has to go with the captain. You listen to your captain. Kung ano sinabi ng captain, go with your captain. That's it.”
Santiago’s leadership and composure saved her team when they squandered a 2-0 lead against Ateneo and during the final stretch of the third and fourth sets of their match against UE..
“Sinabi ko lang sa teammates ko is, 'yun nga, sabi ni coach, kailangan natin ibalik 'yung tatlo, which is ‘yung deserved respect for every point, stay 100 percent whistle to whistle and communication sa loob ng court,” said Santiago.
Santiago and the Lady Bulldogs will have one week to prepare before facing their biggest test on Sunday next week against the two-time defending champion De La Salle Lady Spikers at 2:00 p.m. at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan City.