DINDIN Santiago-Manabat returns to the V.Premier League in Japan with renewed confidence after a fine performance in the Philippine Super Liga.
The 26-year-old Santiago-Manabat was set to leave for Japan on Wednesday to join Kurobe Aqua Fairies after seeing limited action with Toray Arrows last year.
“Super excited pa rin kasi siyempre pangalawang beses ko na pupunta doon e, and 'yun nga, ibang team naman,” Manabat told reporters.
Manabat will serve as Asian import for the Kurobe Aqua Fairies, who finished 10th out of 11 teams and only won two matches in 20 games in the last tournament.
Santiago-Manabat’s sister Jaja will play for Ageo Medics for the second straight season.
“Siyempre once nakalaro ka doon at nakapag-perform ka ng maganda, iisipin naman din ng tao na, 'Galing 'yan sa Pilipinas,’” Dindin said.
“Parang siyempre nakaka-proud rin sa sarili mo na nakakapag-perform ka ng maganda, nakikipagsabayan ka sa Japan na parang iba, iba 'yung dating parang iba 'yung kumpiyansa na nabibigay mo at 'yung tuwa sa mga tao na naniniwala.”
Foton couldn’t make it past the quarterfinals of the PSL Grand Prix, but Santiago-Manabat is grateful to have been able to play again in the domestic pro league and regain top form. She has been supporting the Tornadoes on the sidelines in the PSL Invitationals, eager to provide help even as she prepares to leave for Japan.
“Bumalik ulit 'yung kumpiyansa ko kasi siyempre, sa Japan noon, hindi ako gaanong nakakalaro e. Pero siyempre, iba pa rin kasi 'yung nakakalaro ka ng competitive na laro,” said Manabat. “Parang minsan naiisip mo na, 'Bakit hindi ka nakakalaro? Kulang pa ba?' Pero hindi pa rin 'yun 'yung reason kung bakit hindi ako nakalaro doon.”