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    Jaja absence gives Chery Tiggo middle blockers a chance to prove worth

    Nov 19, 2021
    Dindin Santiago, Jaja Santiago, Jasmine Nabor
    Dindin Santiago-Manabat will need to step up in sister Jaja Santiago's absence.
    PHOTO: a

    LIPA CITY — Chery Tiggo will be leaning on Dindin Santiago-Manabat’s leadership and an array of middle blockers to make up for the absence of star Jaja Santiago in the Philippine National Volleyball Federation (PNVF) Champions League, which opens on Saturday at the Aquamarine Recreational Center gym.

    Premier Volleyball League champion coach Aaron Velez said the absence of their 6-foot-5 MVP, who is currently playing in Japan V.League, left an opportunity for team captain Manabat and middle blockers Maika Ortiz, Rachel Austero, Joy Dacoron and Elaine Kasilag to lead the Crossovers.

    “(It’s) true that Jaja has a major role in the team and a big part to fill,” said Velez. "But it also allows Dindin to lead the team and other middle blockers such as Maika Ortiz, Joy Dacoron, Rachel Austero and Elaine Kasilag to step up and display what they are made of.”

    Besides missing their superstar, Chery Tiggo won’t have Shaya Adorador, who is still undergoing rehab and strengthening from left knee surgery.

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    Chery Tiggo newcomers

    Velez is set to parade newcomers led by wing spiker May Luna, setter Chin Gual and libero Julia Angeles who will join forces with the championship core of Mylene Paat, Jasmine Nabor and Buding Duremdes.

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    “All of us are excited to play, showcase our talents and hardwork again. We are aiming to be more diverse and cohesive in executing our system,” he said.

    Chery Tiggo opens its title quest against Tuguegarao Perlas Spikers at 4 p.m., capping the triple-header opener that also features the 10 a.m. duel between Baguio and Petro Gazz and the 1:30 p.m. clash between F2 Logistics and California Precision Sports.

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      Velez knows every game counts since the team that emerges with the best record in the single-round robin tournament will be declared champion.

      “We just need to be extra mindful, composed at all times, efficient from start to end and continue to strive for excellence,” he said.

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      Dindin Santiago-Manabat will need to step up in sister Jaja Santiago's absence.
      PHOTO: a
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