Jaja Santiago earns golden ticket in surprise announcement

ABS-CBN Sports on Jul 22, 2016 05:24 PM
Jaja Santiago earns golden ticket in surprise announcement
Foton's Jaja Santiago receives her golden ticket for the FIVB Women’s Club World Championship team.

Jaja Santiago of Foton formally became the fifth member of the elite team that will compete in the FIVB Women’s Club World Championship set at the Mall of Asia Arena from Oct. 18 to 23.

Santiago, a 6-foot-5 middle blocker from National University, was awarded with the golden ticket by PSL president Ramon Suzara and chairman Philip Ella Juico during the official launch of the Foton squad that will campaign in the AVC Asian Women’s Club Championship Friday at Crimson Hotel in Alabang.

Though expected to make the team with her height and skills, the timing of the announcement was surprise as the first four golden ticket holders were named during their PSL games.   

Suzara said the 20-year old Santiago truly deserves to be part of the PSL All-Star team for being one of the very few Filipino players who has a deadly combination of talent, height, length and athleticism.

In fact, with Santiago manning the middle, the Tornadoes took last year’s PSL Grand Prix by storm en route to winning the crown.

“She’s young, she’s athletic, she’s talented and overflowing with potential,” said Suzara, noting that the sixth and seventh slots in the prestigious team will be a wide-open race for the remaining nominees from all eight PSL teams.

“We’re so glad to have Jaja on board. We expect her to gain massive experience playing against the best players in the world and serving as our country’s cornerstone in future major international tournaments.”

Santiago said making it to the team is such an honor, especially since she will be playing alongside Rachel Anne Daquis and Jovelyn Gonzaga of Petron, Kim Fajardo of F2 Logistics, Jen Reyes of Petron and seven foreign reinforcements.

“This is a big boost to my volleyball career,” Santiago said. “I’m so thankful and blessed that the PSL trusted me to be part of the team. I will do my best to come up with a good performance and make our country proud.”

The PSL All-Star team will battle Rexona Ades of Brazil, Volero Zurich of Switzerland, Pomi Casalmaggiore of Italy, Hisamitsu Springs of Japan, Bangkok Glass of Thailand and VakifBank and Eczacibasi VitrA of Turkey.

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