DINDIN Santiago-Manabat flashed a big smile after making a smashing comeback in the Chooks to Go-Philippine Super Liga Grand Prix on Saturday.
Returning from a left knee injury she suffered last year in the same conference, Santiago-Manabat made her presence felt from start to finish in Foton's 25-19, 22-25, 25-16, 25-22 win over Generika-Ayala.
The 6-foot-1 beanpole from National University dropped 14 points, none bigger than the crosscourt hit that put the game at matchpoint.
American import Brooke Kranda then wrapped things up with a powerful hit as Foton fans inside the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig reached a crescendo.
"Masaya kasi syempre first game at kahit papano naman po medyo nakakabalik na po ako," said the amiable spiker.
Her splendid outing didn't go unnoticed.
"Mind-setting lang naman kasi ‘yung kailangan kay Dindin. Tinanong ko siya, tinanong ko yung mga PT (physical therapist) kung ano ang lagay ng injury niya, sabi naman nila 100 percent healed na. Good thing, nag-step up siya ngayon," said Foton coach Romel Abella.
As dazzling as her performance was, Santiago-Manabat knew there was much to improve on.
She admitted she was still groping for form, but hopeful she will reach her peak again eventually as she tries to help the Tornadoes win the crown this conference.
"Satisfied naman po ako. Syempre first game tapos this year first time ko maglaro ng babad," she said.
"Sana may maiangat pa yung laro ko, madadaan naman sa training e."