JAJA Santiago played mind games with elder sister Dindin Santiago-Manabat in Foton’s four-set victory over defending champion Petron in Game One of the Philippine Super Liga Grand Prix finals on Thursday at the Astrodome.
The younger Santiago finished with 10 points in the 14-25, 25-21, 25-19, 25-22 victory, complementing the efforts of imports Lindsay Stalzer (25 pts) and Katie Messing (17 pts).
Jaja also had two blocks, both on sister Dindin, who vowed not to make life easy for her sister and the Tornadoes prior to the opener of the best-of-three title series.
But Jaja appeared to be having fun.
“Sa team namin, never namin ibibigay ng ganoon kadali sa kanila or never namin ibibigay sa kanila ‘yung title kung gusto talaga namin,” she said.
The 6-foot-4 Foton rookie also found time to dance on the court during long breaks when plays were reviewed for the video challenge.
She admitted doing it intentionally to get in her elder sister's head.
“Kasi ‘yun din ‘yung way ko para ma-boost ‘yung morale ko, at the same time kasi iniisip ko na bawal ako ma-intimidate sa kapatid ko,” said Jaja. “Kailangan kong i-segue ‘yung kaba ko na katapat ko na naman siya.
“Kaya dinadaan ko sa biro, dinadaan ko sa pagsayaw para nababaling din ‘yung tingin niya, at the same time naiiba rin ‘yung mood niya,” she added.
“Eh kapag naiinis siya, alam ko na medyo (pikon na siya). Inaano ko lang siya iniinis lang pero outside the court magkapatid pa rin kami.”
But the strategy seemed to have only fired up the 22-year-old Petron star even more.
“Actually parang hindi nga (nag-work strategy ko) kasi mas sabik na siya pumalo, parang sinasabi niya, ‘Lagot ka sa akin,’” said Jaja, laughing at her antics.