PHOTO CAPTION: Towering middle blocker Jaja Santiago, shown here in action, doesn’t mind undergoing quarantine for flag and country. (PHOTO: Pinterest)
(Mark Anthony Reyes/Inquirer Sports)
Jaja Santiago traveled from Cavite province to Subic on Wednesday for the women’s national volleyball team tryouts.
And even though she tested negative from the swab test, she—along with Chery Tiggo teammates Mylene Paat and Eya Laure—chose to hit balls in bright red personal protection equipment.
No sweat for the 6-foot-5 middle blocker, who is a shoo-in for inclusion after showing up.
“I’m best in quarantine,” said the 25-year-old Santiago, who helped win the Japanese V-Cup title as an import of Ageo Medic Saitama last month.
Santiago was referring to the quarantine period she had to go through after flying in from Japan, and another that she will have to take before bubble training with the PH squad begins next month.
“No complaints, because I really want to play,” said Santiago, who vowed to help the country win its first Southeast Asian Games gold medal.
She was one of only 16 women players who showed up in the tryouts conducted by the Philippine National Volleyball Federation (PNVF) for men’s, women’s, indoors, and beach events.
PNVF president Ramon “Tats” Suzara said Santiago is assured of the slot in the roster, which he pictured as the “brand new face of Philippine volleyball.”
“She will play for us,” said Suzara of Santiago, who along with Aby Maraño, was the only veteran from past national teams as some of the other regular national team fixtures failed to show up reportedly because of health concerns and not for lack of dedication to flag and country.
PNVF is reportedly planning to ship the players straight to bubble training in Clark, Pampanga, to prepare for the Hanoi Games in November.
Among those who attended the tryouts were club players Majoy Baron, Iris Tolenada, Ria Meneses, Dell Palomata, and several up-and-coming collegiate stars. (Mark Anthony Reyes/Inquirer Sports)