Jaja Santiago says Japanese citizenship bid still 'in process'

Jaja Santiago says Japanese citizenship bid still ‘in process’

/ 07:16 PM May 08, 2024

Jaja Santiago

Jaja Santiago with husband and Japanese coach Taka Minow watching the UAAP Season 86 women’s volleyball Final Four game between NU and FEU at Araneta Coliseum.–MARLO CUETO/INQUIRER.net

MANILA, Philippines — Jaja Santiago said her Japanese citizenship remains in process and she relished her fruitful experience training as part of Japan’s national women’s volleyball pool.

The 6-foot-5 middle blocker, who started her Japanese naturalization bid last year, said her citizenship is still ongoing while receiving help from Philippine National Volleyball Federation president Tats Suzara.

“Actually, walang nakakaalam kung nasaan na siya. But it’s in the process. Hopefully, ma-approve. Sir Tats is helping me though,” Santiago told reporters Wednesday.

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READ: Jaja Santiago still far from getting Japanese citizenship

The longtime Japan V.League Asian import arrived in Manila two days ago, attending the Chery Tiggo practice on Wednesday and supporting the National University Lady Bulldogs with her husband Taka Minowa at Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Santiago recently participated in the 26-member Japanese volleyball team’s training camp, which ended last month, after the Japanese Volleyball Association (JVA) allowed her and PFU Blue Cats Cuban spiker Melissa Valdez to train with the pool despite the ongoing process of her citizenship.

The 28-year-old Filipino, who has been in the V.League Division 1 since 2018 with her former club Ageo Medics, has found her new home with the JT Marvelous.

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READ: Jaja Santiago training with Japan national team pool

Santiago and the JT Marvelous swept the elimination round but settled for silver after losing to the NEC Red Rockets in the winner-take-all final.

She had her best season, being named to the Best Six of the V.League for the second straight time and bagging Spike, Block, and Fighting Spirit awards in the previous season.

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“I really feel blessed na lumipat ako sa JT. Of course, best rin ako noong naglaro sa Ageo (Medics). I learned a lot from JT kasi. Very dynamic yung system nila. I felt like yung system nila is like men’s volleyball,” said Santiago. “I’m very happy that my first experience sa team namin is naibalik naming sa finals.”

Santiago will also support Chery Tiggo when it opens its bronze series against Petro Gazz in the 2024 PVL All-Filipino Conference on Thursday but she won’t risk her citizenship process.

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TAGS: Jaja Santiago, Japan V.League

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