NU star Jaja Santiago earns second straight UAAP Player of Week citation
Jaja Santiago and Jasmin Nabor celebrate NU's five-set win over La Salle. Dante Peralta

FOR leading the National University Lady Bulldogs to a thrilling victory over defending champion De La Salle University, Jaja Santiago has been named the UAAP Press Corps Player of the Week for the second straight time.

The 6-foot-5 spiker was sensational in National U's five-set triumph over La Salle on Sunday, scoring 27 points on 20 kills, four blocks, and three service aces. She was unstoppable down the stretch of the 26-24, 19-25, 22-25, 25-17, 16-14 triumph.

Thanks in large part to Santiago's dominance, National U remains unbeaten in the UAAP Season 80 women's volleyball tournament with a 4-0 win-loss record.

Santiago edged Sisi Rondina of University of Santo Tomas, Bernadeth Pons of Far Eastern University, Dawn Macandili of De La Salle, and Maddie Madayag of Ateneo for the weekly honor given by sportswriters from broadsheets, tabloids and online publications.

For Santiago, it's all about making the most of her final season with the Lady Bulldogs.

"Ang sa akin, maibigay sa akin 'yung bola, papatayin at papatayin ko," said Santiago. "Walang hesitation. Lahat talaga ibibigay ko."

Santiago, together with NU setter Jasmin Nabor, earned high praise from coach Babes Castillo, who lauded the pair's leadership in the come-from-behind win.

"Sila ang gumawa," said Castillo. "Ang dumidiskarte, sila eh. Dumidiskarte si Jasmin, dumidiskarte si Jaja… Very good leadership."

After four games, Santiago has already scored 92 points, tied with UST's Rondina for most in the league. She is also the most efficient spiker in the UAAP, connecting on 45.7 percent of her hits, and leads the league with 0.89 block per set.

Santiago and the rest of the Lady Bulldogs will have a one-week break before returning to action against UST on February 25 at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.

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