NATIONAL University won’t stand in the way of Jaja Santiago as she decides on whether or not she will accept an offer of an athletic scholarship from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).
Nilo Ocampo, NU’s representative to the UAAP board, said Santiago has the school's full support as she weighs the opportunity of a lifetime offered by the US NCAA Division 1 school.
“Of course, we won’t stop her,” Ocampo told Spin.ph on Tuesday.
The 17-year-old Santiago received an invitation from UCLA assistant coach Joy McKienzie-Fuerbringer to join the school's volleyball program in March.
The 6-foot-4 spiker said she is still undecided on the offer and will consult her family before making a final decision on the offer, which includes a full athletic scholarship as well as board and lodging.
Volleyball experts contacted by Spin.ph believe the UCLA offer is the first given to a homegrown Filipina volleyball player by a top US school.
Ocampo said the school knows the magnitude of the opportunity awaiting the younger sister of fellow NU star Dindin Santiago.
“I think she was given a letter of invitation. That is an opportunity ng bata. And she knows that. That is why we won’t stop her. It’s her decision,” said Ocampo of Santiago, one of the vital cogs in NU’s run to the Shakey’s V-League First Conference crown.
The incoming Lady Bulldogs rookie has also been named to the V-League selection that will represent the country in the Southeast Asian qualifiers of the 2014 FIVB Women’s World Championship this month.
Ocampo said the younger Santiago definitely has a lot of potential.
“Very trainable. Magaling ‘yung bata at ang importante, mabilis matuto,” said Ocampo.