UAAP Volleyball: For Manilla Santos, collegiate career was enough
Manilla Santos led her team to four UAAP women's volleyball titles, became a three-time best receiver and the UAAP Season 71 MVP, and earned the distinction as the only female athlete to have her jersey retired by De La Salle University.
Nine years after playing her last UAAP game, legendary Lady Spiker Manilla Santos says there were no regrets on why she did not pursue a volleyball career after a very successful stint with DLSU.
With a lengthy resume to her career, the 5'4" open hitter led her team to four UAAP women's volleyball titles, became a three-time best receiver and the UAAP Season 71 MVP, and earned the distinction as the only female athlete to have her jersey retired by De La Salle University, joining the likes of basketball superstars Lim Eng Beng and Renren Ritualo.
She admitted that her priorities changed after graduating from La Salle, as she focused on life beyond the volleyball court.
"Parang actually it's my dream to play in the pro league... After noong career ko, okay na ako. After volleyball, I worked in our family business. And then after that, I decided na to have a family on my own. That's my priority," Santos said after Legacy of Greatness, a panel discussion that featured one legend from each school at the FEU Auditorium.
Despite closing the door completely after all these years, there was a small part of her that made her think to return and spike again.
"First love ko talaga eh [volleyball] eh. Pero iba na talaga yung priority ko, tapos yun. May time na naglalaro [ang La Salle], I keep on watching them."
As a player who experienced just the genesis of the volleyball boom in the country, Santos did not become remorseful in not getting the best of both worlds.
"Di naman. Hindi ko naman naisip yun. Basta noong time ko kasi, I was a sort of person who parang lived one day at a time talaga, so appreciate ko lang talaga kung ano meron noong time na yun."
From starting in a game that featured white leather balls and toiled hard to score 15 points to win a set to the blue and yellow balls that is known today, Santos gave her all as DLSU established its excellent reputation in volleyball, which it continues to enjoy today after capturing their 11th title in Season 80.
Santos also bared that she was very surprised of the decision that the team had decided to retire her jersey, a choice that had overwhelming approval from coach Ramil de Jesus himself, the Office of Sports, the La Sallian Brothers, and alumni.
"It has not been a smooth-sailing journey kasi so in the years that I have stayed in La Salle, there were ups and downs talaga. Yun I was able to be with my teammates and bring the championship."
As for returning in any capacity for the Lady Spikers, Santos had only one thing to say.
"If that time comes, why not?"