Former NU Lady Bulldog Dindin Santiago-Manabat is excited to return after almost a year of hiatus from volleyball.
“Ready na ko mag-start ulit na maglaro ng volleyball,” was the first thing that came up to Manabat’s mind after being cleared by her doctor.
But she took her time to make sure she’s ready.
“After two weeks nung panganganak ko pinayagan na ko ni doc. Pero ang ginawa ko sinakto ko ng one month and a half bago ako magpa-pawis ng light lang,” Manabat said.
The ex-Lady Bulldog momentarily left volleyball last December after announcing that she was pregnant with her first child with her husband, former NU Bulldog-turned coach Chico Manabat.
It was mixed feelings for her at that time as she and her former team Petron Blaze just lost the Championship game in the PSL GrandPrix against the Foton Tornadoes that was, ironically, led by her younger sister Jaja Santiago.
Manabat gave birth to a healthy baby girl last July whom they named Chloe Sapphire.
With the enough rest, Manabat is now training with her new team, the Foton Tornadoes, to prepare for the 2016 PSL GrandPrix this October.
The Tornadoes announced Manabat’s addition to the team last August before they competed in the Asian Women’s Club Championship last September.
Though playing for a different team, Manabat admitted that she feels really happy about her decision to move to Foton. She also hopes that she could help the Tornadoes defend the crown this season as all teams have beefed up their line-ups to match them.
“Masaya naman po yung Foton. Na-meet ko na silang lahat. Welcome na welcome naman ako sa team. Masaya naman. Masaya po, sa management, sa coaches, okay naman po sila. Wala naman po problema.”
“Sana makuha ulit ng Foton yung Championship. Step by step, paghihirapan naman namin. Lahat ng teams naman nagsi-lakasan e. Pagta-trabahuhan namin. Nakikita ko naman sa mga teammates ko kung paano sila lumaban,” she told FOX Sports.
Less than three weeks to go, Manabat and the rest of the Tornadoes are expected to face tough challenge from RC-Cola Army, Petron, Cignal, Generika, and the newly crowned PSL AFC Champions, F2 Logistics.
Manabat hopes she could repay the fans, who still supports her despite her long absence from the game, with a championship.
“Siyempre excited din ako sa crowd ng PSL. Kasi kung wala sila, wala rin naman ako e. excited naman ako na mapakita ko yung hundred percent ko. Gusto ko kung ano yung napanuod nila dati, madagdagan pa,” Manabat added.
It will also mark the reunion of the Santiago sisters, who paved the way for the rise of the NU Lady Bulldogs in the UAAP. Manabat is overwhelmed just by the thought the she is once again playing with her younger sister Jaja Santiago.
It has been years since the two sisters were part of one team.
“Masaya naman kasi finally makakasama ko nanaman siya. Every time kasi na magkahiwalay kami, ako ‘yung talo so ako na lang sasama sa kanya,” she laughs.
“Marami kaming gustong mapaglaruan ng magkasama. Sana wala na kaming iwanan,” she said. – By Joyce Palad