After ten years, Manilla Santos-Ng relishes volleyball comeback

Imagine the scenario in her last game ten years ago. Many things were different: her green and white jersey, the deafening cheers for the Taft squad after taking the championship, and the supposed end of her decorated volleyball career.

After ten years, Manilla Santos-Ng steps back into the court, and her return couldn’t be more poetic.

Her first game after a decade-long absence happened at the same venue (Filoil Flying V Center), and around the same time (today’s game started at 2:21 PM—her last game for De La Salle University was at 2:22 PM).

But of course, many things are different now, and in the best way possible: a new jersey number in a different color, new teammates, and the beginning of her volleyball comeback.

Santos-Ng and the Choco Mucho Flying Titans registered their first win in their debut game against the Balipure Water Defenders, 25-12, 25-18, 25-18, earlier in the 2019 PVL Open Conference at the Filoil Flying V Center.

Despite a couple of familiarity issues here and then, the Flying Titans still played dominant all throughout, winning the opening set with a statement and coming back from six points down in the second set to take a two-set advantage.

While playing limited time inside the court, the former Lady Spiker still managed to squeeze in two points—both from service aces in the first set.

After a long absence, the 34-year-old spiker expressed her happiness to play the sport again, although admitting that she still has her work cut out for her.

“Super excited ako to play, [but] at the same time, may kaba, kasi it’s been a long time. Nung naka-serve ako, pumasok siya so nagkaroon ako ng kumpiyansa, and thankful ako na napagbigyan ako ng ganoong chance,” Santos-Ng said.

The 5-foot-4 player had a beautiful career with the DLSU Lady Spikers: four UAAP championships, three best receivers, and one Finals Most Valuable Player plum. She also holds the distinction as one of the few La Salle athletes to have her jersey (number 14) retired.

Despite her legendary stature, Santos-Ng was humble enough to admit that she isn’t in her best form compared to her level ten years ago.

“Siguro mga nasa seven or eight, pero I’m working on it and hopefully makahabol pa. I’ll make sure lang na kung ano ‘yung pinagawa sa akin ni coach, ma-execute ko nang maayos,” she said.

Santos-Ng looks to clinch her first championship after a decade and with a professional club, teaming up with former Ateneo stalwarts Maddie Madayag, Kat Tolentino, and Bea De Leon.

Given her long absence from competition, the road back to the top would be long and tough for Santos-Ng. But for now, she would relish her first time back to playing the sport she loves.

“I really can’t believe na nakabalik akong maglaro. It feels so good to be back,” Santos-Ng ended.

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