Dindin Santiago-Manabat joins Akari for new PVL season
MANILA, Philippines — Dindin Santiago-Manabat has found her new home, joining the young Akari squad in the 2023 Premier Volleyball League (PVL) season, which kicks off in February with the Open Conference.
Sources told Inquirer Sports that the star opposite spiker signed with the Chargers.
On Friday morning, the team’s social media pages made it official introducing Manabat as their biggest recruit.
WELCOME TO A NEW ERA.FEATURED STORIES
Leadership. Intensity. And top notch skills. All of these we can expect from the newest member of the Akari fam! Let's welcome Dindin Santiago-Manabat into the fold! LET'S GO! ⚡️💖✨ #AkariRising @dindinsmanabat pic.twitter.com/CX31PTJe95
— Akari Chargers (@AkariChargers) January 13, 2023
Akari recruited the most sought-after player of the offseason free agency as the 29-year-old Manabat is expected to share her offensive prowess and experience with the young team that joined the PVL in the 2022 Reinforced Conference.
Manabat parted ways with Chery Tiggo after six years with the franchise last December 29, saying she was also pursuing an opportunity to play again overseas, particularly in South Korea.
The 6-foot-2 wing spiker was leading the way for the Crossovers in last year’s Open Conference but she suffered an ankle injury and missed the whole Invitationals. She also played sparingly in the Reinforced Conference, where she also entered the health and safety protocols that caused her to miss some games.
Manabat, the former National University stalwart, won two titles with the franchise, helping the Foton Tornadoes rule the 2016 Philippine Superliga Grand Prix and joining hands with her sister, Jaja Santiago, to lead the Crossovers to a historic first PVL professional championship in their come-from-behind five-set victory over the Creamline Cool Smashers in the winner-take-all Game 3 in Bacarra, Ilocos Norte last 2021.
Manabat is reuniting with Philippine women’s volleyball team coach Jorge Souza de Brito after playing under him in the 2021 AVC Asian Women’s Club Championship in Nakhon Ratchasima.
The multi-awarded spiker is also bringing her experience from international leagues when she played in Japan V.League for the Toray Arrows in 2018 and Kurobe AquaFairies in 2019. She also saw action with Nakhon Ratchasima in the Volleyball Thailand League, teaming up with Mylene Paat in early 2022.
The young Akari core is composed of Trisha Genesis, Erika Raagas, Lycha Ebon, Michelle Cobb, Jaja Maraguinot, and Dani Ravena as well as veteran spiker Janine Marciano.
Besides Manabat, the Chargers also signed Camille Victoria, Petro Gazz champion libero Bang Pineda, and seasoned spiker Eli Soyud from PLDT.
Akari finished eighth in its first PVL tournament in the Reinforced Conference, winning three of its eight matches, including the Dominican import Pris Rivera’s record-setting 44 points against Choco Mucho in five sets and a four-set stunner that shattered F2 Logistics’ semifinal bid.
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