Jaja Santiago shares V.League Best Blocker honor with Saitama teammates
MANILA, Philippines — Jaja Santiago offered her first Japan V.League Best Blocker award to her family and her club Saitama Ageo Medics.
Santiago became the first Filipino player to receive an individual award in the V.League after tallying the most blocks at 103, averaging 0.81 per set in Saitama’s 20-13 finish in the fifth place in the 2021-22 season.
The 6-foot-5 import edged joint second placers Foluke Akinradewo of Hisamitsu and Hattaya Bamrungsuk of Toyota, who both finished with a total of 81 blocks.
She also won the Fair Play award.
“I would like to dedicate this award to my family, coaches and teammates. This award is only possible with the support of everyone. Especially for my teammates, they always helped me in this process. Everyone has done a great job as a member of the team and has always inspired me,” said Santiago in a statement.
“I’m sure there are many great middle blockers besides me, but I’m happy to be able to get the block results in this way as a result of my best efforts. I think it is the result of my daily hard work and my strong determination to improve,” she added.
Santiago posted the third most blocks in a season after record holder Sachiko Sugiyama of NEC, who had 106 blocks in the 2007-08, and the second most blocks, 104, tallied by Erika Araki of Toray in 2012-13.
“This may be an individual award, but for me it’s a team award. I didn’t expect anything other than the best for the team. This award will be a valuable stepping stone to many successes in my future career,” she said.
More than her achievements, the 26-year-old blocker promises to continue improving her craft.
“I am fully aware that improvements are still needed. I would like to work harder, continue to learn, and always do my best without being satisfied here,” she said.