By: Alexandrea Suñga
MONTHS after she saw action in Japan’s V.League, Dindin Santiago-Manabat has returned to the country and is happy to play for the Foton Tornadoes in the Philippine Super Liga Grand Prix once again.
Santiago-Manabat’s overseas career started when she went to the Land of the Rising Sun during the last quarter of 2018 to play for the Toray Arrows, a women’s volleyball team based in Japan.
Being an import means challenge for her, admitting that getting into the first six wasn’t as easy when she was in the Philippines.
“Syempre unang-una, happy ako kasi nakabalik na ako then syempre nabibigyan ako ng playing time,” she expressed. “Noong sa Japan syempre, oo import ka, pero madami kaming middle don. Lima kami, so talagang pahirapan makapunta sa first six or mabigyan ka ng chance para makapaglaro,” she said.
Santiago-Manabat shared that she also had a hard time adjusting positions as she was originally a hitter assigned to play middle blocker in Japan.
“‘Di ba bago ako pumunta sa Japan, outside ako tas minsan opposite ako, then nung pagpunta ako sa Japan, parang nag back to basic ako sa pagiging middle,” she said.
The Foton standout said that Japan definitely taught her a lot of things, not only when it comes to volleyball and improving her plays, but she also learned a lot from their values.
“Ang dami kong natutunan doon eh. Hindi lang mismo sa skills sa volleyball, parang about life din. Madami akong natutunan don,” she shared.
Foton is now at the bottom of the PSL 2019 Grand Prix standings (1-8), but Santiago-Manabat is ready to help her team win their upcoming games by applying what she had learned overseas.
When asked about the values she had learned in Japan, the 6-foot-2 spiker shared three, “Do not give up, trust one another, and always be positive.”
“Syempre hindi naman kami sumusuko eh. Sabi nga nila, ‘di naman kami bibigyan ni Lord ng mahirap na pagsubok eh. Parang mahirap muna sa umpisa para in the near future, easy na lang sa’min,” Santiago-Manabat shared.
“So ngayon, ang inaano namin, maging positibo lang kami. Tiwala sa isa’t isa and positibo lang sa lahat ng bagay kasi oo nga, kulelat kami pero hangga’t may pag-asa, lalaban kami,” she added.
Santiago-Manabat is thankful for her fans, who have been screaming her name during her second game back with the Tornadoes, absorbing her second loss after reuniting with the team.
“Syempre unang-una nagpapasalamat ako sa kanila kasi binibigyan pa rin nila ako ng trust, kasi syempre mas gaganahan ka pag may mga taong naniniwala sa’yo,“ she said.
The towering volleybelle also managed to share how she handles her bashers who have been consistent especially when she went overseas.
“Mas pinapalakas nila ‘yung loob ko kasi syempre, sabihan man nila ako ng masama, ite-take ko lang ‘yon as a positive [comment] para mas pagpursigihan ko pa,” she expressed.
“[Kapag] sasabihin nila na, ‘Ah, mabagal si Dindin,’ so parang, ah sige sa training kailangan kong ipractice ‘to, kailangan kong bilisan. ‘Ah si Dindin walang depensa,’ ah sige, praktisin ko sa depensa,” she added.
But enough is enough for the 25-year-old hitter as she sometimes deals with her bashers by answering them, although she still tries not to dwell on them.
“Minsan pumapatol na rin ako kasi nga syempre, para at least, alam nila na mababasa ko mga ano [comments] nila ‘di ba? Pero wala sa’kin ‘yon e. Hindi naman ‘yon makakaapekto sa’kin kasi may sari-sarili din naman kaming buhay,” she said.