SMART-Maynilad faces the prospect of being without National University star Dindin Santiago when the Net Spikers try to stay alive in the Shakey’s V-League Open Conference Finals against the Cagayan Valley RiSing Suns in Game Two on Sunday at The Arena.
NU management has allowed its prized spiker to beef up Smart-Maynilad’s frontline rotation in the ongoing Shakey’s V-League finals. But Santiago's presence in Game Two is suddenly in doubt with the Lady Bulldogs set to leave for Bacolod for the University Games Monday.
"Honestly, I'm not really sure because I've heard NU is leaving on Monday for the University Games in Bacolod City," said Smart-Maynilad coach Roger Gorayeb on Wednesday.
While Santiago managed to help key the team’s win over Army in sudden death in their Final Four duel, she failed to do the same against Cagayan in the title series opener last Tuesday.
Cagayan squandered a two-set lead and leaned on Aiza Maizo’s defensive gems in the decider to hack out a 26-24, 25-11, 23-25, 11-25, 15-12 win in Game One.
Gorayeb said that even if the 6-1 Santiago would be allowed to play in Game Two, he’s certain that she would no longer be available if they manage to force a sudden death set on October 27
"If Dindin will be allowed to play in Game Two, we'll be happy because I know she will not make it in Game Three, in case we manage to make it that far," said Gorayeb.
On a brighter note, Gorayeb said Alyssa Valdez is sure to play on Sunday despite hurting her neck and right shoulder in a collision with teammate Maru Banaticla in the third set of their Game One duel.
"She's okay, she is available in Game Two," said Gorayeb of the power-hitting Valdez.
The Net Spikers, however, will need more than Valdez to stop what could be Cagayan Province’s perfect march to the championship on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Game One of the Finals will be shown on Thursday starting at 1 p.m. on GMA News TV Channel 11, according to the organizing Sports Vision.