JAJA Santiago said she has no regrets after rounding out her college career with National University without a championship, or even just an appearance in the UAAP women's volleyball finals.
As a freshman five years ago, Santiago turned down an offer of an athletic scholarship from University of California Los Angeles. She also declined the offer to play for Bangkok Glass last year as well as an offer to join tryouts for various clubs in Korean Volleyball League.
On Sunday, Santiago's stay with the Lady Bulldogs ended with a straight-set loss to treble-seeking La Salle, 25-27, 22-25, 11-25, at the semifinals stage at the Mall of Asia Arena.
“Sabi nga nila, kung ano ang pinagdesisyunan mo, ‘wag kang mag kumbaga no regrets,” said Santiago.
“At hindi naman nakasama sa akin (na nag-stay ako sa NU), actually nakabuti pa nga na nape-prepare ako sa mga susunod na opportunity sa akin and pinakita naman sa akin ng teammates ko na deserve talaga ‘yung pag-stay ko dito sa NU,” she added.
The 6-foot-5 do-it-all spiker also stressed that she didn't want to skip one year in the UAAP and come back the next year, just to join Asian powerhouse team Bangkok Glass.
“Hinayang hindi, wala naman akong pinanghihinayangan ngayon eh,” said Santiago. “Sabi ko nga, ginugusto ko naman lahat ng desisyon ko, pinagtrabahuhan ko, pinaghirapan ko lahat ng pinagdesisyunan ko.”
She is set to suit up for Foton in a match against F2 Logistics - a team coached by La Salle's Ramil de Jesus and made up mostly of former Lady Spikers - in the semifinals of the Philippine Super Liga Grand Prix.
After the PSL, she wants to try her luck in the international arena.
“Next ko ngayon is PSL, feeling ko PSL kasi ongoing. Depende pa kung ipapasok nila ako (sa semis). After PSL, opportunity naman ako outside the country,” said Santiago.