Hindi ko in-expect na mag-MVP ako -- Santiago
Mark Escarlote on Dec 10, 2016 09:50 PM
Foton's Jaja Santiago received her Most Valuable Player award from Philippine Superliga president Ramon Suzara.
Jaja Santiago celebrated another milestone in her career by bagging her first Most Valuable Player award in the Philippine Superliga just minutes after helping Foton clinch its second straight Grand Prix title.
The 6-foot-5 Santiago scored 10 points Saturday night in the Tornadoes' 25-20, 25-20, 22-25, 25-17, Game 2 win over the Petron Tri-Activ Spikers to complete a sweep of the best-of-three championship series at the PhilSports Arena in Pasig City.
Santiago said that the recognition came as a surprise for the 20-year old middle hitter, who under the watch of Serbian coach Moro Branislav played both as an opposite and an open spiker.
"Hindi ko in-expect na mag-MVP ako kasi ilang games din ako nawala tapos sobrang baba din ng nilaro ko nitong past few games namin," the incoming National University fourth year player. "Sabi ko nga kay Lindsay (Stalzer) you deserved this hindi ko deserved ito kasi sa kanya talaga ‘to. "
Santiago said that she just couldn't believe that her name will be called to receive the highest honor for the season-ending conference. She expected the award to go to last year's MVP Stalzer.
"Hindi ko rin alam.’Yun ‘yung iniisip ko kanina nung tinawag ako: “Ako? Parang ako?"" she narrated.
"For me it’s Ariel (Usher) or Lindsay pero blessing ito sa akin kasi binigay nila sa akin na natutuwa ako dahil pinagkatiwalaan ako nung pumili sa akin kung sino man," said Santiago, who led Foton to a runner-up finish in the All-Filipino Conference and played both in the Asian Women's Club Championship and in the Women's Club World Championship. "Pero 'yun nga for me it’s Lindsay or Ariel talaga."
The humble hitter even tried to hand the award to Stalzer and Usher.
"Sabi ko: "This is not mine it’s yours?,"" she told Stalzer. "Hindi sa sobrang humble kasi nakita ko naman 'yung paghihirap ni Lindsay at Ariel talaga so gusto ko ibigay sa kanila 'tong award na to."
Petron import Stephanie Niemer was named 1st Best Outside Spiker, Usher received the 2nd Best Outside Spiker while Aby Marano of F2 Logistics and Maika Ortiz of Foton won the 1st and 2nd Best Middle Blocker awards, respectively.
Other award winners were Kim Fajardo of F2 Logistics (Best Setter), Jovelyn Gonzaga of RC Cola-Army (1st Best Opposite Hitter) and Aiza Maizo-Pontillas of Petron (2nd Best Opposite Hitter) and Dawn Macandili of F2 Logistics (Best Libero).
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