JAJA Santiago yesterday thanked Philippine volleyball officials for praising her performance with Saitama Ageo Medics, which ruled the Japanese V. Cup on Sunday.
“Thank you very much, Sir Tats,” Santiago’s message to Ramon “Tats” Suzara read.
Suzara is the president of the Philippine National Volleyball Federation, which sent Santiago a congratulatory message yesterday.
“On behalf of the entire leadership of PNVF, I extend my warmest and most heartfelt congratulations for your achievement,” Suzara told Santiago. “Let this be an important milestone that will bring even much more to your already outstanding career.”
“Para sa bayan!” said Santiago, who was tapped by the Ageo Medics in the 2019-20 season as an import in its campaign in the top-tier Japanese league.
Santiago became the first Filipino to win a volleyball title outside the Philippines. At home, the 6-foot-5 outside spiker from Cavite City won club championships with PLDT Home Ultera and Foton, and was the 2018 UAAP MVP in her final season for National University.
Saitama beat NEC 26-24, 20-25, 25-21, 25-17 in the gold medal match at Ota City General Gymnasium in Tokyo with Santiago contributing 11 points on nine spikes and two blocks, the third best performer on her side after Yuka Sato (15 points) and Shainah Joseph (14 points).
The Ageo Medics swept the five-game eliminations in Group B and eliminated JR Marvelous 25-21, 25-22, 18-25, 18-25, 15-13 in the semifinals.
Santiago also helped Saitama to the bronze medal in the 2020 V. League.
Santiago is due to return from Japan on Wednesday (March 31).