Roles reversed as Dindin Santiago needs to step up while Jaja takes leave
Foton's Dindin Santiago admits her timing is still off but Jaja is confident her sister will quickly find her rhythm. Jerome Ascano

DINDIN Santiago admitted she is still far from top form, but the pressure is on as the Tornadoes need her to step up as Jaja leaves for Japan to train with the National University Lady Bulldogs.

Roles have been reversed as Dindin, back in action after giving birth, needs to step up and fill the void to be left by younger sister Jaja, who has taken the role of lead local player at Foton in her absence.

Jaja Santiago will be out of the country for 12 days, which means skipping a handful of Philippine Super Liga Grand Prix matches.

“Kulang na kulang kasi ang bagal ko pa, ang bagal ko mag-react, siguro tsamba lang ang nagagawa ko,” said Dindin after starting for Foton against erstwhile undefeated Petron on Tuesday.

“Mahigit isang buwan pa lang akong nagte-training so kung makikita niyo ang laro ko as in ang bagal ko talaga, sa pag-block lagi ako nale-late, tina-timing ko na lang kung pano ako makakapalo,” she added.

[See Dindin Santiago-Manabat now a mom after giving birth to bouncy baby girl]

“Pero si Jaja sinasabi niya lang lagi na, ‘kaya mo ‘yan, ate’ so sa isip ko, sige kaya ko talaga. Siya talaga ang nagpu-push sa akin na galingan ko,” share Dindin.

While Dindin was preparing for her comeback, Jaja was showing signs of progress in her stints in the AVC Asian Women’s Club Championship and the FIVB Women’s Club World Championship.

But the 6-foot-5 middle blocker believes that her “ate” remains a deadly hitter and only needs some encouragement.

Focus will be on Dindin as Foton faces Cignal on Thursday.

“Sabi ko nga sa kanya kapag kinakabahan siya or papasok siya sa loob ng court, ‘Ate Din kaya mo na rin naman na, ang laro mo hindi naman nawawala ‘yan. Siguro iniisip mo lang na hindi mo kaya pero nakikita ko sayo kaya mo, nagagawa mo pa ang dati mong laro.’” said Jaja.

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“Pag pinasok ka, sabi ko sa kanya, isipin mo kundisyon na kundisyon na ang katawan mo, ‘yan ka pa rin hindi ka tumigil maglaro. Gawin mo lang kung ano ang kaya mong gawin, ‘wag ka mag-hesitate sa kaya mong gawin lalabas naman ang laro mo eh,” she added.

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