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Jaja wraps up Japan season, back soon

Bea Micaller



JAJA Santiago leads Ageo Medics to a fifth-place finish in the V.Premier League in Japan. PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF AGEO MEDICS FACEBOOK

Jaja Santiago is set to return home after wrapping up a stellar season for Ageo Medics in the 2020-21 Japan V.Premier League season.

Chery Tiggo team manager Diane Santiago, Jaja’s older sister, said the 25-year-old Filipina will fly back to the Philippines soon after her Japanese club wound up fifth with an impressive 17-25, 25-23, 25-20, 25-20 victory over Okayama, last Sunday at the Saitama Prefectural Budokan.

“She will come home maybe by late March or early April,” said Diane, who is handling the affairs of the Crossovers, Jaja’s mother club in the Philippine Superliga (PSL).

“It was a great season for Jaja. We saw her improvement and everything she did there will be helpful once she returns to action here.”

Ageo fell short of matching its historic bronze medal last season.

The 6-foot-4 Santiago poured it all in her final game, dropping 11 points, including nine kills.

Against the Okayama Seagulls, the National University product tallied11 points on nine kills and two blocks.

Santiago’s teammate, Yuka Sato, led the way with 26 points while Yuri Yoshina and Shainah Joseph, a former reinforcement for Sta. Lucia in the PSL, contributed 16 and 15, respectively.

Santiago is expected to fulfill her duties to her mother club and the national team.

The newly-established Philippine National Volleyball Federation Inc. is in the process of forming the national team for the 2021 Southeast Asian Games in Vietnam. Santiago is among those tipped to make the roster, especially after her stint in the previous edition of the biennial meet did not materialize due to conflicts in her contract with Ageo Medics.

This time, Santiago is ready to suit up for the flag anew.

“Actually, she’s really willing to play for the national team, but we’re hoping that if she gets called again, there would be proper communication,” Diane said.

“There’s really no problem playing for the national team. Actually, she’s more than willing to suit up and serve the country.”