For the final stretch of its preparations for Season 79, NU women’s volleyball team is headed to the land of the rising sun.
Following its successful title run in the 13th Shakey’s V-League Collegiate Conference, the 11-woman crew of NU is all set to fly to Japan for a 12-day training camp starting on November 6.
“Tutuloy daw kami ng Japan. Tuloy na tuloy na. Wala naman nang alinlangan,” confirmed NU star spiker Jaja Santiago.
“‘Yung Japan kasi one of the best teams eh. Tsaka mabibilis sila. Gusto ni coach magkaroon kami ng experience at learnings dun. Magkakaron din yata kami dun ng mga tuneup,” she added.
With her plate full for playing for Foton in the PSL, Santiago would have to make a couple of sacrifices to make the training abroad possible.
What is clear from the beginning, though, is that above all her volleyball commitments, the middle blocker’s responsibilities for NU is top priority.
“Sabi rin ni coach Roger (Gorayeb), tanggapin ko na daw kasi konti na nga lang kaming pupunta dun tapos mawawala pa ako. And pahinga and bonding na rin kaya importante nandun ako,” she told FOX Sports.
On missing a couple of games at the ongoing 2016 PSL Grand Prix, she adds: “Nagsabi na ako sa Foton. Naintindihan naman nila kasi kailangan ko talaga i-prioritize ‘yung school namin lalo na malapit na ‘yung UAAP. Four games akong mawawala.”
The 6-foot-5 spiker has missed training with the Lady Bulldogs for 2 weeks now as she, 6 other locals and 7 foreign reinforcements gear up for the slug fest against the best club teams in the world in the forthcoming World Club Women’s Championship.
Being the leader of the pack, Santiago admits to missing her collegiate teammates.
“Sobrang nami-miss ko sila. Minsan pag umuuwi ako sa dorm yayakap na sila agad. Yayakap sila isa-isa kasi pagod na pagod sila. Ramdam ko ‘yung pagod nila eh,” she shared.
“More on circuit at conditioning sila. Tsaka pinu-push talaga ni coach Roger (Gorayeb) ‘yung defense namin. Gusto niya mabilis ang mga kilos at bawal malaglagan ng bola,” closed Santiago. —By Mac Dionisio