DESPITE beating her idol and elder sister Dindin Santiago-Manabat in their first-ever match-up, Jaja Santiago has no doubts on who's the better player between them.
The towering Santiago sisters played against each other for the first time in the Shakey’s V-League Season 12 Open Conference on Sunday at The Arena in San Juan, with Jaja and PLDT Home Ultera scoring a lopsided 25-16, 25-23, 28-26 win over Dindin and Philippine Army.
The 6-foot-4 Jaja, however, was in no mood to celebrate after the win, saying her Ate Din remains her inspiration. Jaja added she still has a lot to learn to even come close to what her 21-year-old sister has accomplished.
“Angat pa rin siya sa akin,” Jaja, who played with Dindin at National University, said when Spin.ph caught up with her as she was about to board the waiting PLDT bus shortly after the match.
Jaja finished with 10 points from seven hits, two blocks, and one service ace for the Ultra Fast Hitters. Dindin came off the bench for Army and had seven markers, from four spikes, two blocks, and one service ace.
Jaja, however, was quick to say the numbers don't mean a thing.
“Kung ginamit siya ng first set mas lamang pa rin siya sa akin,” said the 19-year-old middle blocker. “Nanalo man ako sa stats ngayon alam kong kulang pa. Marami pa akong kailangan gawin.”
“(Tsaka) hindi lang naman kami ang naglaban, team pa rin ang gumawa,” she added.
The face-off between the Santiago sisters was the first showdown between siblings in the league since Michelle and Mayeth Carolino battled each other numerous times as guest players.
On the other hand, Dindin was full of praise for Jaja's focus and competitive nature, saying her younger sister even refused to give her a kiss prior to the match.
“Sabi ko sa kanya, 'Ja, kiss mo ako,'” the Army guest player shared with a giggle. “Sabi ko na lang sa kanya, 'Kiss mo na ako, bangko naman ako.' Tapos ayun kiniss na niya ako.
“Pag kasi sa game focused talaga siya. Pag kalaban ka niya, kalaban ka niya,” added Dindin.
The former National University stalwart immediately went to the PLDT dugout shortly after she had taken a bath to hug and personally congratulate her younger sibling.
Dindin said she doesn't mind losing to her sister.
“Siyempre, proud po ako kay Jaja ever since naman,” Dindin said. “Kahit naman dati pa alam naman niya na proud ako sa kanya. At kahit natalo niya ako ngayon, Masaya ako para sa kanya.”