Inquirer 7 top UAAP women’s volleyball players: Week 2
Every week, INQUIRER Sports will be ranking the seven best performers in the UAAP Season 79 women’s volleyball tournament. The author will base the rankings on the players’ team placings, statistics and observation.
Here are INQUIRER’s top seven players for Week 2, which includes the opening weekend.
1. Jaja Santiago (National University, middle blocker)
If there’s ever a player who rightfully deserves the no.1 spot, it has to be Jaja Santiago. It’s hard to think otherwise.
Santiago has been NU’s driving force as it opened up the season on a three-game unbeaten streak with the towering middle blocker averaging 21 points per match.
Her highest scoring output was against Ateneo when she scored 26 points en route to a four-set win.
There really isn’t much to write about the greatness of Santiago, all one has to do is just watch—watch in awe.
2. Kim Kianna Dy (De La Salle University, opposite hitter)
It was a virtual toss up between Kim Kianna Dy and Mary Joy Baron but the former had to take this spot.
Her quiet demeanor outside the court is replaced with a rampaging mean streak that is no stranger to the big stage. She won the Finals MVP honor when the Lady Spikers won the title from Ateneo in Season 78, and is expected to continue her fearless run this season.
Dy has transformed herself into La Salle’s talisman and for the past two games she’s averaged 13.5 points as the Lady Spikers tacked on a 2-0 start. That statistical average isn’t much, but Dy makes up for it with her winning attitude and the willingness to carry on the swagger La Salle’s stars have always put on their shoulders.
3. Jasmine Nabor (National University, setter)
Jasmine Nabor has proven her worth as National University’s setter for the future when she won the Finals MVP in the Shakey’s V-League Collegiate Conference and it seems she has become the setter head coach Roger Gorayeb has been looking for.
Santiago has finally reached her true potential as the deadliest collegiate volleyball player and it’s thanks to no small part to Nabor.
NU’s duo led the Lady Bulldogs to a 3-0 start, the best in the league, and Nabor has averaged an unreal 42 excellent sets per game.
4. Ayel Estrañero (University of the Philippines, setter)
She wasn’t a setter initially but when University of the Philippines needed one, she happily took on the role and immediately became the engine that drives the Lady Maroons’ offense.
From someone who usually gets up high to punch home some points, Estrañero is now the one setting up her teammates for scoring opportunities.
Estrañero has eased into her new role quite easily and her numbers back that up as she averaged 27.5 excellent sets per match in helping UP to a 2-0 record.
5. Bea De Leon (Ateneo de Manila University, middle blocker)
Being a middle blocker in the UAAP comes with the thought that you will always be compared to Jaja Santiago, but Ateneo’s Bea De Leon has managed to match up by virtue of her production and her intensity.
Ateneo is now at 2-1 and that is thanks in large part to De Leon who has taken the mantle of being the Lady Eagles’ emotional leader.
De Leon went toe-to-toe with Santiago during their matchup and boy, was the Atenean junior one mean girl.
Every time Santiago scored one for the Lady Bulldogs in the fourth set, De Leon was there to respond with a mean streak that can rival anybody’s.
De Leon, for the past three games, has averaged 10.67 points, which is the sixth-best in the league, and 0.67 kill blocks per set.
6. Dawn Macandili (De La Salle University, libero)
She’s the diminutive anchor of La Salle’s defense and she’s proven she can dance with the big girls.
Dawn Macandili once won the Finals MVP of the PSL All-Filipino Conference. Although a rare occurrence, she has shown that defense does win championships.
Now that the UAAP has resumed, Macandili has continued her impressive form.
Macandili is averaging five digs per set, the second-best in the league behind University of the East’s Kathleen Arado, and posting an efficiency rating of 41.67 percent in receives, the third-best mark in the league.
Patricia Rasmo of University of Santo Tomas and Arado are ranked higher than Macandili in terms of receives but the La Salle libero take the nod here by virtue of the Lady Spikers’ 2-0 start.
7. Diana Carlos (University of the Philippines, opposite hitter)
Diana Carlos was part of the vaunted rookie class University of the Philippines paraded in Season 78, teaming up with eventual top freshman Isa Molde, Maristela Layug, Angeli Basarte, and Justine Dorog.
Early in Season 79, Carlos has been unleashed and the sophomore has become the 2-0 Lady Maroons’ leading scorer averaging 14.5 points.
The league’s seventh-best scorer is also it’s third best spiker.
Carlos has a success rate of 37.29 percent and that clip is just behind NU’s Santiago and La Salle’s Baron.