Jaja Santiago set for another season with Japanese team
MANILA, Philippines—Filipino volleyball star Jaja Santiago said she is set to return to her Japanese club team Ageo Medics once the new V.League season starts.
Santiago was an instant success story with the Medics when she led the club to the bronze medal in the Division 1 of the professional league.
“After our third place game, the team management immediately talked to my agent to talk to me and tell me to come back with them for a third season,” said Santiago in Filipino during the UAAP Season 82 women’s volleyball tournament Sunday at Mall of Asia Arena.
Santiago was in attendance in alma mater NU’s 26-24, 25-14, 25-21 win over Adamson University.
“But for me, I’ll always come back to Ageo when I come back to Japan, I’ll stay with them. I don’t like to go throughanother adjustment period and I always want to stay in a team where I’m comfortable.”
Santiago had to come back to the Philippines during the V.League’s offseason because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak that has infected 408 people in Japan as of March 7.
“Our coach in Ageo told us to always be safe and for now the Philippines has a much lower number of cases, and I hope it stays that way,” said Santiago. “I have weak lungs so I really have to take care of myself and not travel because airplanes are certainly enclosed spaces.”
Santiago also said there are other teams who are looking at prospective Filipino players to compete in Japan.
“Of course there are players being looked at but of course we want it to be a surprise,” said Santiago. “But there are players here right now that the Japanese teams want to sign.”
With Santiago just waiting to sign a new contract with Aego, she said that she’s keeping herself busy before the Medics play in a weeklong pocket tournament on May 1.
Santiago still has an existing contract with Cherry Tigo in the Philippine Superliga and she’s training with them to keep herself in shape while also going to regular visits to the Lady Bulldogs.
“Cherry respects my contract with Aego and they also support me with my decisions… maybe I can play with them in the second round of the PSL (Philippine Super Liga) Grand Prix,” said Santiago, who will return with older sister Dindin. “By that time, the pocket tournament is over.”
“Also I visit NU, although not everyday, and I teach the kids what I learned from the coaches in Japan. So far, I like their improvement and they’re more disciplined now.”
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