JAJA Santiago said she feels like starting all over again playing for National University's volleyball team with elder sister Dindin no longer by her side.
The towering Santiago sisters had taken the Lady Bulldogs to new heights in their time together, but Jaja has now taken the lead role for the team now that Dindin has played out her eligibility.
Jaja, 18, admits it hasn't been easy as she tries to do well on the court without the assuring presence of her elder sister while trying to fill the leadership role she had vacated.
"Malungkot at nangangapa pa ako ngayon kasi wala nga 'yung ate ko," the former UAAP Rookie of the Year awardee told Spin.ph.
Now Jaja said she feels like a young bird trying to spread her wings.
"'Di ba 'pag andiyan siya, siya naghahanap sa akin (sa court)," said Jaja, "(ngayon) iisipin mo na lang kaya mo 'yan mag-isa, kaya mo 'yan kahit wala 'yung ate mo.
"'Yung nakaka-miss 'yung may nag-aalalay sa iyo sa loob ng court, nagre-remind ano ang gagawin mo," she continued.
With the Lady Bulldogs at 1-2 (win-loss) in the ongoing Shakey's V-League Season 11 Open Conference, Jaja said her prime motivation is to make her elder sister proud of her.
"Syempre gusto ko maging proud siya sa akin. Ngayon mag-isa na lang ako sa loob ng court. Dati Santiago sisters, ngayon Jaja Santiago na lang," she said.
"Parang gusto ko maging proud siya sa akin na kahit wala siya kaya ko maglaro."