LIPA CITY — Joy Dacoron and her fellow middle blockers are determined to collectively fill in the huge void left by their MVP Jaja Santiago as Chery Tiggo eyes another Cinderella finish against unbeaten F2 Logistics in the Philippine National Volleyball Federation (PNVF) Champions League.
When the Crossovers pulled off a series comeback with a five-set win over Creamline from two sets down in Game 3 to rule the Premier Volleyball League last August, Jaja joined hands with her elder sister Dindin Santiago-Manabat to lift their team as the first professional champions.
On Thursday, Chery Tiggo won’t have its 6-foot-5 MVP, who is playing for Ageo Medics in Japan V.League, in facing F2 Logistics at 4 p.m. at the Aquamarine Sports Complex.
Joy Dacoron: next woman up
But Dacoron, together with fellow middle blockers left Maika Ortiz and Rachel Austero, said they will help each other to deliver the impact that Santiago has provided as they seek to cap the year with another crown.
“I take this as a challenge kasi tatlo lang kami kasi si Ate Jaja go-to player namin siya. So sa aming tatlo collectively mafill up naming tatlo yung effort ni Jaja,” she said. “Masaya kami kasi may challenge sa aming tatlo and may magandang opportunity na ma-show namin kung ano yung napagtrainingan namin.”
The 5-foot-11 middle blocker said they are still bringing their learnings and inspiring motivation they received from their former skipper even though she’s not with them.
“Lalo na yung experience namin last (tournament) na isa siya sa leader. Dinala namin siya ngayon, spiritually kasama namin siya sa laban ngayon,” Dacoron said.
Besides facing a formidable F2 squad led by Kalei Mau, Chery Tiggo, which won three of its four games for 10 points, has to win by straight or four sets to gain three more and beat its foe in the tiebreaker that currently has 12.
Dacoron refused to be intimidated by the Cargo Movers, who have seven national team players including Mau, Majoy Baron, Aby Maraño, Kianna Dy, Tin Tiamzon, Iris Tolenada and Dawn Macandili.
“Pareho lang naman kami nagtetraining so mental toughness na lang talaga yung kailangan bukas lalo maatake sila pero kami din naman,” she said. “Trust lang talaga kami sa system na pinagttraining namin. Hopefully bukas magandang laban yung ibigay samin.”
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