By: Donald (PH Volleyball International)
Jaja Santiago's fourth Japan V. League season came to a close with a BANG!
After leading the Saitama Ageo Medics to a fifth-place finish with 103 blocks, averaging 0.81 per set, the 6-foot-5 middle blocker emerged as the top blocker in the Japan V. League 2021–2022 season.
Jaja Santiago surpassed several world-class middle blockers from Japan, Thailand, and the United States, including Foluke Akinradewo, in the tournament.
With this award, which is Jaja Santiago's first-ever individual prize as an import of the Saitama Ageo Medics and her second major achievement in Japan, is also announcing the beginning of even bigger or greater things to come for this outstanding young Filipina volleyball player, who is helping to establish the Philippines as a new destination for world-class athletes on the international volleyball stage.
Jaja Santiago has always been a world-class athlete in the making!
After suiting up for Ageo Medics in Japan's elite division, the 26-year-old volleyball player has demonstrated that she possesses the necessary skills to establish a career on the international scene.
As early as her adolescent years, when she began playing the sport, her height, agility, and adaptability put her on the radar of both domestic and international scouts.
She received a scholarship offer from the University of California, Los Angeles at the age of 16, but opted to stay with her family in the Philippines. Following her final season in the UAAP, she tryout for many teams and ultimately won a seat with the Ageo Medics. Santiago's transfer to Japan was initially difficult, as she faced several transitions on and off the court.
In addition, Santiago reverted to her natural middle blocker position after being converted to a wing spiker in the Philippines. In order to assimilate to Japan's faster-paced, more regulated system, she had to unlearn some of her habits and dispositions. She also needed to adjust to the rigorous training.
Due to her commitment, she made an early impact on her debut with Ageo Medics and has since established herself as one of the tournament's greatest attackers and servers.
And now, Jaja Santiago's stellar performance as the Japan V. League's best blocker in the 2021-2022 season will undoubtedly open doors, create opportunities, and broaden her horizons not only in Japan, but also throughout the volleyball world, including Europe, China, Turkey and Asia, as well as the United States and beyond!
We all hope Jaja Santiago decides to spread her wings and become one of the greatest volleyball players in the history of the sport!
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