Jaja Santiago becomes the first Filipina to win overseas volleyball title

Jaja Santiago made PH volleyball history (Volleyball World Twitter account)

By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña


History has been made.

After carrying the Ageo Medics to a stellar semifinals win against V. League champions JT Marvelous in five grueling sets, 25-21, 25-22, 18-25, 18-25, 15-13, Filipina import Jaja Santiago went all out in a winner take all finals showdown against the NEC Red Rockets.

Entering the matchup with overflowing confidence from their huge upset victory, Santiago and Ageo Medics put on a masterful display of volleyball, 26-24, 20-25, 25-21, 25-17 to become the first Filipina import to win an overseas volleyball championship.

Several volleyball stalwarts who are staples in the international volleyball scene have yet to a title; with the likes of Jaja’s older sister Dindin, Alyssa Valdez, Bryan Bagunas, and Marck Espejo.

Santiago finally getting the volleyball championship during the Japanese V Cup is a fitting culmination of her struggles and sacrifices after several trips of failing in getting that coveted title.

Aside from their V Cup success, Santiago also led her squad to a fifth-place finish during the Japan V. League Division I serving as an ASEAN import.

Santiago and the Ageo Medics entered the finals match with a 13-game winning streak and banked on their tight interior defense to keep their untainted run.

The Filipina middle-blocker finished the game with four points and seven blocks and was the focal point of the Medics’ defense.