No regrets for Santiago as UAAP stint with NU ends without title
The era of one of the most dominant individual players in the UAAP has come to an end.
Jaja Santiago bid her goodbye to National University after the Lady Bulldogs dropped out of the title race with a three-set defeat to defending champion De La Salle in the UAAP Season 80 women’s volleyball tournament Sunday at Mall of Asia Arena.
While the Lady Spikers celebrated their 10th straight trip to the finals, Santiago huddled all her teammates as much as her 6-foot-5 frame can handle as tears ran down her face.
“I was super emotional because this was my last playing year with these ladies and we went through a lot at NU,” said Santiago, a three-time Best Attacker, in Filipino after the 27-25, 25-22, 25-11 loss. “It’s so hard to leave them and it’s really painful and we weren’t able to achieve what we wanted to this season.”
“This was the team that had been through a lot, and I felt it. We’ve learned a lot about each other this year. And if there’s a year that I would like to return to in my five years with NU, this year would be it.”
Santiago, who was also a one-time Best Scorer and Best Blocker, promised before the start of the season that she would lead NU to the title and although she failed to do that, she doesn’t regret spending all her collegiate years with the Lady Bulldogs.
The outgoing Lady Bulldog received an offer from Thai club team Bangkok Glass to play from 2017 to 2018, and also from UCLA in 2013.
“Regrets? None at all because they say that when you decide on something you shouldn’t regret any part of it,” said Santiago, Season 76’s Rookie of the Year. “And my stay actually better prepared me for my future opportunities.”