Dindin Santiago pins blame on self for NU's bitter semis defeat to Ateneo | Inquirer Sports

Dindin Santiago pins blame on self for NU’s bitter semis defeat to Ateneo

/ 12:05 AM March 02, 2014

Dindin Santiago (facebook photo)

MANILA, Philippines—Dindin Santiago couldn’t help but blame herself for the bitter ending to National University’s campaign in the UAAP season 76 women’s volleyball tournament.

Even after rallying NU late in the fourth set, Santiago is punishing herself for one costly mistake that set up Ateneo for the winner and ultimately crushed the Lady Bulldogs’ hopes.

Down 22-23 and with their season flatlining, Santiago sent her service attempt way too far out which put the inspired Lady Eagles at match point.

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“Siyempre sinisisi ko sarili ko kasi ako naghabol sa service tapos ako rin magpapatalo (of course I blame myself, I helped the team catch up then I caused them to lose),” a crestfallen Santiago said. “That was a crucial service error.”

“This really hurts because I knew they were counting on me. I really tried to win. It didn’t cross my mind that it was going to be my last game because we believed we were going to win.”

Alyssa Valdez drilled in the down the line winner and towed Ateneo to a third-straight championship appearance against rival La Salle.

In contrast, Santiago failed to drag her team to the finale in her two-year stint even when the Lady Bulldogs, the no. 2 seed in the eliminates, needed just a win to make it happen this year.

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“I was really close to this team. Everything we needed to change, we did it. We sacrificed what we needed to sacrifice, so were all left asking ‘what happened?'”

But even if they failed to live up to expectations of making it to the finals, Santiago couldn’t help but feel a source of pride for having a hand in transforming NU to winners.

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“Maybe that I managed to change NU. Maybe that’s the highlight [of my stay here],” said Santiago. “From seventh, fifth and now 3rd.”

“Hopefully Jaja [Santiago] can finish the job,” she added, entrusting the responsibility of completing NU’s future to her younger sister, who is actually just as promising.

Santiago is leaving NU with a capable line-up, and she is hoping that the semifinals defeat will make them stronger for next season.

“I told them I hope this serves a lesson for next year, I won’t be there to remind them of what to do because I’m graduating. They should persevere and play double time.”

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TAGS: Ateneo De Manila University, Dindin Santiago, Lady Bulldogs, Lady Eagles, National University, UAAP, UAAP season 76, women's volleyball

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