DINDIN Santiago exploded with a league record 37 points as Petron edged PLDT Home TVolution, 25-27, 25-23, 19-25, 26-24, 15-10, on Wednesday in the Philippine Super Liga All Filipino Conference at Cuneta Astrodome.
The top overall pick in the PSL rookie draft, Santiago made a grand debut in the commercial league, eclipsing the previous record of 36 points set by former Blaze Spikers import Shinako Tanaka in the PSL Grand Prix in December last year.
“Masaya syempre kasi first time ko sa PSL tapos ganoon ’yung kinalabasan,” said the 20-year old spiker from Tanza, Cavite.
“Nag-relax lang ako hindi ko inisip na first pick ako kasi pag inisip ko ’yun lalo masisira ang laro ko, kaya focus lang.”
Petron coach George Pascua didn’t mind that their rivals anticipated the Blaze Spikers’ attacks since the sets were mostly made for Santiago, confident that the 6-foot-2 spiker would overwhelm the net defense.
“Sa kanya ko na pinabigay ’yung bola kasi nga malaki siya, hindi siya naba-block, dahil malaki siya konting talon lang nagagawan na niya ng paraan ang (palo)," added Pascua. “Alam ko naman ang capacity niya.”
“Alam ko naman na kaya niya. Kaya ang sabi ko na lang sa teammates niya, tulungan natin siya sa depensa.”
Mina Aganon scored 16, Sandra de los Santos had 12, and Maica Morada added 10 points for the Blaze Spikers.
With the score tied at 12 in the fourth, the Blaze Spikers used an 8-3 run in the fourth for a 20-15 lead.
PLDT regained composure and managed to make it 24-all behind team captain Sue Roces but Santiago came up with a hit and Maika Morada scored from the service line to extend the match.
After a 0-2 deficit, Petron took charge in the final set, moving ahead 8-4 and going on to seal the win.
Roces made 21 points for PLDT, while Lou Ann Latigay added 19 and Sasa Devanadera chipped in 10.