AS she moves up to the next level of her volleyball career, Dindin Santiago said she feels her late father's presence and guidance more than ever.
The Santiago patriarch passed away last month, only a few days after National University - led by sisters Dindin and Jaja - bowed out of the UAAP women's volleyball semifinals.
That proved a double blow for Dindin, arguably the best volleyball player in the country today who saw her college career with the Lady Bulldogs end without a championship.
But as she embarks on the next phase of her career after being made the No. 1 pick overall by Petron in the last Philippine Superliga draft, Dindin finds solace in the thought that her late will be watching over her.
Her father was unable to watch all of her games for NU owing to his work; now Dindin said he knows his dad will be watching her every game enjoying 'the best seat in the house.'
"Kinilabutan naman po ako," Dindin said, rubbing her cheeks. "Opo, alam ko naman na andito lang ang tatay ko ginagabayan lang kami."
"Naniniwala ako na dati 'di niya kami napapanood, ngayon araw-araw na, everytime na maglalaro ako alam ko nanonood lang siya."
Santiago, who still suits up for NU in the Shakey’s V-League, will now bolster a Petron side that is on a rebuilding phase after an unsuccessful run in the PSL Grand Prix last year.
Dindin has high hopes for a turnaround by the Blaze Boosters.
"Naniniwala naman po ako na kaya po namin mag-champion. Tiwala lang," said the 6-foot-2 spiker, who, like fellow Lady Bulldog and draftee Mina Aganon, will be reunited with former UAAP mentor Edjet Mabbayad, now the head coach of Petron.
The all-Filipino conference of the PSL will kick off on May 10 at Philsports Arena in Pasig.