NU superstar Jaja Santiago was a monster with 31 points against Ateneo on Monday night, but the towering middle blocker doesn’t want to count the Lady Eagles out in their finals series.
On the jaws of defeat after losing the third set, Santiago and the Lady Bulldogs essayed a massive comeback to move closer to the 13th Shakey’s V-League Collegiate Conference championship.
Nonetheless, the 6-foot-5 spiker believes Ateneo has the capability to bounce back.
“Sobrang lakas ng Ateneo, wala akong masabi sa kanila,” she said. “Sobrang tibay ng blockings nila, ng depensa. Siguro umiral talaga yung teamwork namin sa game.”
Down 5-9 in the final frame, NU summoned every bit of grit and courage to turn back the Lady Eagles, saving 2 match points as Santiago and Aiko Urdas put on a show in the end game.
After blocking Jho Maraguinot to tie it at 14-all, Santiago went to the bench because of the rotation.
And with their biggest chip sitting down, the Lady Bulldogs banked on Urdas to deliver the goods.
“Alam ko naman na kahit wala ako sa loob, kaya nila na tapusin yung game,” she said. “Nakita ko na gumana yung teamwork namin sa match na yun.”
Now on the last stretch of a series of tough outings with both NU and Foton Pilipinas in the Asian Women’s Club Championship, Santiago has the chance to take a long rest if and when they beat Ateneo in Game 2 on Wednesday.
“Sana makuha na namin yung game sa Wednesday,” she stressed. “Hindi rin naman basta-basta yung Ateneo.” — By John Chester Fajardo