Jaja Santiago earned the UAAP Press Corps Player of the Week from February 7 to 11 after leading the National University (NU) Lady Bulldogs to an impressive 3-0 start in the Season 80 women’s volleyball tournament.
The graduating 6-foot-5 star did not only put up stellar numbers in their past three games but she also proved that she is the heart and soul of the Lady Bulldogs.
Santiago erupted with 26 points built on 20 kills, four blocks and two service aces to defy the come back of Ateneo de Manila in five sets, 25-19, 25-19, 20-25, 12-25, 15-7, last Wednesday. She unloaded 23 points to carry the Lady Bulldogs to their third straight win in avoiding the upset ax of University of the East (UE), 25-15, 18-25, 25-22, 25-19, on Sunday.
The team captain of NU is now the second best scorer averaging 21.7 points in three games just two points shy of UST’s Cherry Rondina, who averages 23.3 points per game.
She bested this week’s candidates Rondina, Jema Galanza of Adamson and Michelle Cobb of De La Salle.
For NU Head Coach Babes Castillo, Santiago is not only giving the impressive numbers the team needed, she also stepped up when it mattered most.
“I think their captain responded right on the dot on what the situation is asking for,” said Castillo on Santiago. “The team has to go with the captain. You listen to your captain.”
Santiago and the Lady Bulldogs will have one week to prepare before facing their biggest test on Sunday next week against the two-time defending champion De La Salle Lady Spikers at 2 p.m. at The Arena in San Juan City.