Jaja Santiago reveals surgery in final season with Saitama
MANILA, Philippines—Jaja Santiago revealed she went through surgery in the middle of the 2022-23 V.League season.
Santiago recently parted ways with the Saitama Ageo Medics, where she played for five years.
“This is one of the most challenging battles I had. But I fought my battles with my family, Ageo team, and friends,” wrote Santiago in a lengthy Instagram post. “Last December, I had an operation with the removal of 2 ovarian cysts. It was hard because I was in the middle of the season.”
“They didn’t put pressure on me as I was recovering. STILL! I DID IT! After two weeks of break, I was able to play again. And little by little, I regain my composure and confidence,” added Santiago, who bid farewell to Saitama with a grateful heart.
The 6-foot-5 middle blocker finished the season helping the Ageo Medics reach the final stage before ending up in fourth place. She was also selected as the league’s Best 6, being one of the two Best Middle Blockers.
As the former Philippine women’s volleyball team star moves on to the next chapter of her career, which she didn’t divulge, she expressed her gratitude to Saitama after giving her a break in 2018 and tapping her as the team’s Asian import for the past five seasons.
“I want to take this opportunity to thank my Age family, from management to coaches, to my teammates, and to all fans who supported me all the way! You have become my family,” Santiago said. “I am not where I am now without all of you. Thank you for the trust that you gave me and the confidence that I can be at my best. All my awards from this season and the previous seasons are dedicated to the All of vou!”
“My season with Ageo ended, but this is just one for the books. Onto the next!” she added.
In her time Saitama, the National University product made history as the first Filipino women’s volleyball player to play in Japan.
The former UAAP MVP also won the Best Blocker last year after tallying a total of 103 blocks and earned the Fair Play Award for the past two V.League seasons.
The former National University stalwart also thanked her strength and conditioning coach Luis De Mesa for keeping her in top shape, amid the surgery.
And her husband and Japanese coach Taka Minowa, who proposed to her last year.
“Appreciation also to my family, who always support me in any decision I make. And mainly, to my husband Taka Minowa, who stays by my side, who always watches my game and gives me after-game comments. For believing, caring, and loving me,” she said.