JAJA Santiago proved her all-around abilities with three individual awards in a season, but remains undecided on whether to play on and make another bid for two bigger trophies still missing from her collection — the MVP and the UAAP championship.
The best blocker, best scorer and best spiker of Season 79 said she was still glad with how her journey turned out, even as she fell short of the National University Lady Bulldogs’ initial goal of making the Final Four.
"Yung season naman, di kami nakaabot sa Final Four pero happy pa rin ako. Lalo yung game against UST kasi dun ko nakita yung teamwork," she said, referring to the Lady Bulldogs final game against the Golden Tigresses.
"Kinulang lang talaga sa huli. Sobrang exciting ng season na to kasi di mo alam sino yung mananalo kasi lahat ng teams pantay pantay."
Santiago paused, grinning, when asked about next season, before reiterating her earlier statement.
"Undecided pa rin," said Santiago.
Pressed for answer, the 6-foot-5 spiker said, "50-50 pa."
One of the things that is making the decision difficult for Santiago is coach Roger Gorayeb's announcement that he will no longer call the shots for the Lady Bulldogs.
"Syempre iba pa rin kung mag-stay mga coaches namin kasi hindi mahirap mag-adjust kasi yun pa rin sistema," she said.
"Nakakalungkot kung aalis sila kasi for two years sila pumupukpok samin. Sila nagbibigay inspiration every game tapos malalaman namin na mawawala sila. Sobrang hirap para samin kaya undecided rin ako."
But if she does return, Santiago, drawing inspiration from the three awards she received on Saturday, vowed to be a better leader.
"Siguro inspiration yung tatlong awards sa akin. Kasi kahit di kami nakapasok ng Final Four at championship, still nagpapahiwatig for me na kaya pa namin next year if ever," she said.
"Alam ko na di lang din yun yung capacity ko, marami pa akong kailangang punan."